Angry Kenyans have taken to Twitter to harshly criticise the government for appointing British model and entrepreneur, Naomi Campbell, as an ambassador for Kenyan tourism board.
Kenya’s Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, had in a statement on Tuesday announced the supermodel as Magical Kenya International Tourism Ambassador.
“Supermodel Naomi Campbell has agreed to be Magical Kenya International Tourism Ambassador. She will help promote the marketing of Kenya as an ideal tourism and travel destination to the world,” a statement from the ministry read.
“We welcome the exciting news that Naomi Campbell will advocate for tourism and travel internationally for the magical Kenya brand.”
Campbell congratulated the government for infrastructural developments related to tourism like the upgrading of the Malindi Airport at the coast and the international accreditation of a golf course in Vipingo Ridge.
However, the news hasn’t gone down well with some Kenyans who believed the ambassadorial role for so-called Magical Kenya should have been given to a Kenyan making an impact internationally like actress Lupita Nyong’o or comedian Elsa Majimbo.
“Why did we not pick our own Lupita Nyong’o, buy kenya build Kenya promoting our own,” Victor Amalemba tweteed.
“Why didn’t Ajuma Nasenyana not get the position and she is Kenyan, why didn’t Lupita not get the offer and she is Kenyan, why didn’t Debra Sanaipei not get the position and she is Kenyan.. what was the criteria for selection? Non Kenyan?” Syombua Kibue tweeted.
“Please stop with this Elsa instead of NaomiCampbell debate . Wealthy people may laugh at your jokes, but on buying/spending decisions, perceived influencer authenticity and inaccessibility is what keeps luxury, luxury,” Kathambi Kaaris tweeted.
Meanwhile, news of Campbell’s recruitment comes in the wake of veteran artiste, Madonna, announcing she was also in the country for a visit.
The 62-year-old posted videos on her Instagram account saying she had visited the counties of Samburu and Baringo and interacted with locals.
Kenya’s tourism sector was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic recording lower numbers of visitors and hotel occupancy but the government has since embarked on an aggressive campaign to revive its fortunes.