Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic may be losing money on its London-Nairobi route, but that has not dampened the entrepreneur’s confidence in Kenya as an investment destination.
The kidnapping of tourists in coastal towns, heightened Al-Shabaab threats and the military’s invasion into Somalia has seen several countries issue travel warnings for Kenya that have negatively affected the tourism industry. Either way, Branson is willing to invest even more in Kenya.
“It is a tough market. What is happening in Somalia has had a negative impact. We are working around telling people that only one part of Kenya is affected and that the rest of Kenya is okay,” said Branson.
Branson is indeed planning to open a 15-tent luxury camp in a new reserve next to the Maasai Mara game park. The camp is expected to be opened in the next four to six months.
The Maasai Mara is Africa’s most famous safari destination and is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
Speaking during a Nairobi conference before departing to the Maasai Mara, Branson said the luxury camp project would help protect migration routes for wildebeest that travel from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park north into the Mara.
Branson was full of praise for the continent’s potential and urged entrepreneurs to maximise on the available potential.
“Africa has got everything the Far East has, and even more. Africa is growing much faster than Europe or America, and if African countries are led well, there’s no reason why Africa can’t be as great and powerful as the Far East,” he said.