Despite the backlash triggered by the appointment of Naomi Cambell as Kenya's tourism ambassador, the supermodel has saved the country millions.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chair Mohammed Hersi disclosed that Campbell is not charging the Kenya Tourism Board for her services.
“If we were to pay Naomi, she would wipe a good chunk of our destination marketing budget. Those who think we paid millions to get her...I can bet we paid nothing and all this is personal goodwill from Tourism CS Najib Balala,” Hersi stated.Kenya Tourism Federation Chair Mohammed Hersi with Tourism CS Najib BalalaFile
According to a US celebrity booking website, celebritytalent.net, Naomi's appearances set you back Ksh2.7 million to Ksh4.2 million for events in the US and possibly more for international duties.
A long-term engagement such as Kenya's tourism deal would require clients to pay the supermodel millions of shillings.
Hersi also addressed the suggestions from some Kenyans that Hollywood actor Lupita Nyong’o was a better fit for the tourism goodwill role.
“Lupita may be our daughter but she is now a high-flying brand and if we are to get her, be prepared to pay top dollar for her brand. Let me also tell you that even the father who is Governor of Kisumu cannot just use her image to promote Kisumu.
“When you reach Lupita’s level, agents run the show, they monetize every single move,” he explained.
Hersi added that Naomi had more than 10 million followers on Instagram compared to Lupita’s 8.9 million adding that the supermodel had visited Kenya every December for the last 15 years.
Due to her close relationship with the communities in Malindi, Campbell was given the Giriama name Kadzo.
The Kenya Tourism Federation chair urged Kenyans should focus on how to tap into Campbell’s high-value networks to seek opportunities instead of criticizing the move by KTB.
“Dear Naomi please don't read too much into sentiments expressed by Kenyans on social media. You see, we use social media to ventilate and please take it with a pinch of salt. I leave you with the words of Michelle Obama...When they go low, you go high...Keep soaring,” he concluded with a message to the supermodel.Tourism CS Najib Balala and British model Naomi Campbell pose for a photo
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