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Kenya government to build Sh8b varsity

A multi-billion shilling construction of the country’s first fully-fledged university offering degrees in purely hospitality is due to commence at the Coast.

The Sh8 billion ultra-modern tourism university, to be known as Ronald Ngala Utalii College, will be set up at Vipingo, Kilifi County on 60 acres of land belonging to the Ministry of Tourism.

Rea Vipingo donated the land for the project fully funded by the Kenyan taxpayer.

Upon completion in five years, the facility will boast world-class services that include a 500-bed, five-star, beach hotel, a level five hospital and learning institutions for nursery, primary and secondary school levels for the community.

The beach hotel will be managed on the model of Utalii Hotel.

Other features depicted by the model, include sporting facilities, swimming , housing facilities that include two and three bed room flats, and mansions for the institution’s staff.

The construction of the college is being undertaken by the Tourism Fund, formerly the Catering Tourism and Development Levy Trustees.

five-year plan

Already, a local contractor has been picked for the job. Initially, the project was to be undertaken by the Kenya Utalii College but was transferred to the Tourism Fund since the harmonised Tourism Act assigns the function to the latter.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie, who is meeting players in the tourism sector at the Coast region, will today tour the facility.

She will be briefed on the progress of the project planned for completion in phases over five years.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially launch the project when he lays the foundation stone in July.

The project is expected to boost the tourism and hospitality sector at the Coast while at the same time easing pressure on the Utalii College in Nairobi. The institution will offer training and refresher courses to students and professionals.

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Tourism Fund CEO Allan Chenane, who is overseeing the design work, says the community around the institution will also be advised to put up hostels for those who will want to live outside the college.

Chenane says the facility will also have a modern stadium not only for students but also the community.

The Tourism Fund boss adds that locals will also benefit from wells that will be sunk around the proposed university. The Kenya Utalii College is currently the leading trainer in tourism and hospitality in East and Central Africa. The college is also a certified centre of excellence in hospitality and tourism training in Africa. Currently the institution runs other satellite campuses in Mombasa and Kisumu.

Utalii offers hospitality degrees in collaboration with the University of Nairobi but according to Utalii College Principal Dr Kenneth Ombongi, the institution does not satisfy the demands. “Ronald Ngala Utalii University couldn’t have come at the right time. At the moment, the country and Africa badly needs hospitality and tourism trained personnel.

These are people with technical and conceptual skills to drive the sector; a demand that Kenya Utalii College cannot meet and the new college will compliment Utalii,” Dr Ombongi sayed.

According to Chenane, the Ronald Ngala Utalii University is part of the projects under Kenya’s development of Vision 2030. Chenane also said they sought views of the public while coming up with the project and for their input, the institutions buildings will reflect the architectural designs of the indigenous Coastal people.

“We will have the various blocks reflecting the traditional architectural of the nine sub tribes of the Mijikenda community and also the Arabic people,” he said.

boost tourism

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho said the construction of the Ronald Ngala facility would not only go a long way in honouring the late independence hero but also boost tourism activities at the Coast.

“Tourism is the main stay of the people of this region and such a big project will go a long way in empowering our people to tap into the opportunities created by tourism,” Joho says.

Retired President Mwai Kibaki wanted to inaugurate the project earlier this year but was held back as the Tourism Fund had not concluded the process of awarding the tender.

In 2010, Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, who was the then Tourism Minister, gazetted the board of Ronald Ngala University as a way of fast tracking the project realisation.

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