Malindi warms up to sports tourism with establishment of rugby pitch

Sports tourism in the resort town of Malindi has received a major boost after stakeholders initiated a process to establish the first-ever modern rugby pitch in the region to host which will host national and international tournaments.

The rugby pitch which is already at an advanced stage is being set up at the Malindi Golf and Country club and will add up with the already existing golf sport which is already attracting sports tourists from all corners of the nation.

Already Sandies plan group of hotels Malindi composing of Diamond Dream of Africa, Dream gardens and Tropical village together with Conference solutions, Malindi golf club, Fuson Kenya today sponsored the first-ever rugby tournament to help raise funds for the completion of the rugby pitch.

During the tournament hundreds of tourists including foreigners who are residents of Malindi and locals from Nairobi, Malindi and Mombasa flocked to the club with their families to enjoy the all-day fun.

Apart from the rugby game, there was also a golf tournament, together with children’s play facilities and lots of food for people to enjoy their day out, socialize, and build connections.

Top Kilifi county government officials led by County Executive Member for Gender, Culture, Sports Dr. Anisa Omar, and prominent business personalities in the resort town were among those who attended with their families for the fun day.

Alexander Zissimatos General Manager of Africa plan group of hotels Malindi said as a hotel they were proud to achieve other things as sports particularly the project of a purpose rugby field which will be the biggest in Kilifi county.

Zissimatos said their vision is to complete the project soon so as to help the younger generation grows and develop rugby in the country.

“We hope that it’s going to succeed and help the tourism industry here bring teams from all over the country and everybody has a great time in the afternoon,” he said.

The GM said with Golf Rugby and the hotels they will make sure that it becomes a reality to boost the sector.

“With the sponsorship that we have done and all the support that we have heard from stakeholders, within another month or so hopefully we can complete this project,” he said.

When there is a big team that would be performing he said it would attract lots of people and many tourists will come.

Currently, he said there are already charters that have started coming in following the efforts by the county and national government in vaccination drive adding that in his resort over 90 percent of workers have been vaccinated.

“I do believe that if things stay the same by November you will see a lot more international tourists coming even in their own country they are stuck but things are opening up now and people want to travel,” he said.

On her part, Anisa said by developing the Malindi Golf and country club will help promote the tourism sector through sports.

She urged everyone to ensure they do not forget issues of sports in Kilifi county to ensure it’s developed from Athletics soccer, and rugby, and all other sports.

The other day she said the 100 meters champion was a Kenyan which is a positive move as once talents are tapped it helps to give a chance to those who are talented.

The CEC member said counties and National governments should also support sports as some children are good at sports as not everyone will be good in class to study medicine or flying.

“We are at the Malindi golf course and we celebrate the spreading of good ideals through sports, we have seen a rugby pitch being developed which is a positive move, in my department we are here to support sports,” he said.

Coast Region Rugby Development activities officer Lubang Alion said he was happy to witness the development of the rugby field for the Malindi rugby team as it would help in nurturing talents.

He said Coast has a lot of untapped talents and sports has remained a sleeping giant because it has not been tapped.

Alion said apart from talents the move will help promote the tourism sector as big teams will come to play and bring in tourists.

“Having initiatives like these will help teams from Nairobi to come and play against Malindi Rugby Club, they will come with their fans, sports tourism is a growing sector globally we have seen countries and cities hosting tournaments and cups which helps the tourism sector as the players and fans will need hotels to stay and spend money,” he said.

The Malindi Rugby Club captain Sammy Kabiri said they were now seeing there is pitch being developed as previously they used to depend on a school field which was closed down after the Covid-19 pandemic leaving them with nowhere to practice.

He said their aim as a team is to play in the top league specifically the champion league and Kenya cup and with the pitch they will be able to host a tournament or a match.

Kabiri said they are organizing a mass recruitment drive to get players so as to develop a strong team.

“I urge every stakeholder to come and help develop these talents to the entire world,” he said.

Once sports tourism picks in Malindi it will add up to the already existing products which include beach and safari which are famous globally.

  

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