Kenya’s Tourism Minister, Najib Balala has defended the decision to name British model, Naomi Campbell as the country’s international tourism ambassador instead of actress Lupita Nyong’o.
During a public event, Mr Balala acknowledged that many Kenyans had questioned why Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t picked for the position.
He said Ms Nyong’o has been unreachable for the last five years.
The Kenyan Oscar winning actress was proposed by many Kenyans on social media as the perfect international ambassador.
Mr Balala said Ms Campbell had taken up the role pro bono and that the government was working on the details on how to use her influence to promote tourism, local media report.
Kenya’s tourism sector has been badly hit by coronavirus, with visitor numbers down by 72% between January and October last year.
“The sector hence lost over 110bn Kenyan shillings [$1bn, £738m] of direct international tourists’ revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Kenya’s Tourism Research Institute reported in December.
The tourism industry usually contributes about 8.8% to Kenya’s annual Gross domestic product (GDP), according to Kenya’s East African newspaper.
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