Kenya’s pristine Watamu and Diani beaches in the Kenya’s coastal region scooped the second and third places respectively as best Beach attraction in Africa. Sharm el-Sheikh beach of Egypt took the first slot.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director, Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa attributed the recognition to the sustained and combined effort among the players and stakeholders in the industry in ensuring that the beaches are clean, safe, and carefully managed.
“These are good news to us coming hot on the heels of our voting as Africa’s leading Tourism Board 2012 during a hotly event in UK by travel agents across the globe. The two beaches have further positioned Kenya as a prized destination due to their appeal to a wide range of travelers,” said Muriithi.
Watamu’s smooth white beach which forms part of the Malindi Marine Reserve Park, a marine protected area, the snorkeling and diving around the offshore coral formations is said to be the best in East Africa.
Watamu is also an important breeding ground for green and hawksbill turtles.
Diani, the idyllic 20-kilometer stretch of palm-fringed beach is kept pristine and clear of seaweed by the coral reef just offshore. This coastal paradise has become one of Kenya’s most popular beaches.
The latest ranking add credence to beach management programme championed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) which has given Kenya’s coastal beaches a new life with visitors enjoying sun-bathing laced with relieving breeze from the beach.
Hoteliers along the beach have put up sun beds along the beach adjacent to their properties, introduced full waiter services to enable clients get served at the beach.
Under the programme, frequent patrols have been initiated; daily beach clean-up exercise and reorganization of beach vendors making the beach friendly to tourists.
‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2012′
Elsewhere, Dr. James Mwangi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Equity Bank in Kenya, was named the ‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2012′ on Thursday at the prestigious Porsche Centre in Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria.
In his welcome address, Frederic Van De Vyver, ABN Group Head of West Africa, stated that “Forbes is one of the world’s most well-known and respected business media brands, highlighting stories of entrepreneurship and exemplary leadership. With Forbes Africa, we have the continent’s first ever international business publication localised for the African executive.”
“The Person of The Year award recognises the individual that has made a significant impact in business through economic growth by creating employment and spearheading innovation in the continent, having the most influence on the events of the year gone by”, said the Managing Director of the ABN Group, Roberta Naidoo.
The event debuted in 2011 with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the recipient of the award for his stand against corruption. He also went on to grace the December/January cover of Forbes Africa Magazine.
The award was presented to him by Managing Editor of Forbes Africa magazine, Chris Bishop. In his acceptance speech Dr. James Mwangi asked that “all Africans should brace up and take up the challenge of improving Africa as our generation could go into history as those that changed the African continent for good.”
The nominees for the Person of The Year award were submitted by various industries as well as Forbes Africa readers who voted online. The hundreds of nominees were then shortlisted by Forbes Africa’s seasoned panellists.
The five finalists for the ‘Forbes Africa Person of The Year 2012′ include: Aliko Dangote (Founder and President, Dangote Group), James Mwangi (Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Equity Bank Group), Tony Elumelu (Founder and Chairperson, Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation), Joyce Banda (President of Malawi) and Steven Saad (Co-Founder, Aspen Pharmaceuticals).
The ceremony was sponsored by Diamond Bank Plc, Kedari Capital Limited, Nestoil Group Plc, Keystone Bank, africapractice, The Porsche Centre, Moët & Chandon and Uniglobal Togo.
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation