Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala has called for the renaming of two key airports in the Coast Region.
Speaking in Lamu, CS Balala noted that there has been long time confusion amongst tourists and visitors flying to Lamu and Diani where the airports in those two places are not clearly and precisely defined to suit the intended destinations.
Mr Balala now wants Manda Airport in Lamu to be changed and renamed Lamu Airport in Manda Island while Ukunda Airstrip to be renamed as Diani Airport in Kwale County.
He says the move will help tourists flying to Lamu or Diani to identify their destinations with ease and at the same time to market or sell the region as a destination.
“There is always a confusion when visitors or tourists come to Lamu via Manda Airport. When they hear, they are coming to Lamu, they know it’s an island but when they come here, they find another name-Manda Airport. That creates confusion, making the visitors to ask themselves if they are really in Lamu or in a different place. They as well start asking themselves how long is Lamu Island from Manda or are we at the right destination? We need to end such confusion and anxiety amongst travelers,” said CS Balala.
He says such confusion is also witnessed by those going to Diani only for them to land at Ukunda Airport.
“If we want to be effective in promotion and marketing and bring certainty in where the client is going is to have the airport also have name of the destination. It’s therefore better to have the Manda Airport renamed Lamu Airport in Manda Island while Ukunda Airport to be changed to Diani Airport in Kwale County,” said CS Balala.
He insisted that depiction of names in any business is crucial so that one can win client’s loyalty and curb any sorts of confusion.
He promised to engage in discussions with the Transport Infrastructure and Urban Development Ministry in a move aimed at renaming the two airport facilities possibly by next week.
“As I can see here, Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha has no objections concerning the proposal to have Manda Airport renamed. Similarly, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya also has no objections in having Ukunda Airstrip renamed. And I am also confident that isn’t a big deal for the transport ministry in having the two airports renamed,” said CS Balala.
He said, “I believe by next week, the deal to rename the airports will have been concluded as these are the discussions, we are going to engage with the Ministry of Transport in order to reach a consent.”
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