Franco Rosso, a prominent figure in the tourism industry and the founder of Franco Rosso International, passed away on March 27th, 2023 in Lugano, Switzerland. He was 94 years old.

Rosso’s contribution to Kenya’s tourism industry cannot be overstated. He was the first person to introduce Kenya to the Italian market by launching the first charter flight from Italy to Nairobi 50 years ago. He fell in love with the beauty and tranquillity of Malindi during a month-long vacation in East Africa in 1967 and decided to invest in the town.

Rosso established his first hotel, Tropical Village, in Malindi on Casuarina beach. He opened Diamonds Dream of Africa, Coconut and Malindi beach hotel, and Sandies Malindi Dream Garden in 2018. Diamond Dream of Africa, one of Rosso’s hotels, has received numerous awards, including Africa’s Leading Beach Hotel in 2012 and Africa’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort in 2021 and 2022.

Rosso leaves behind three children, Sara, Paolo, and Alessandro. His funeral ceremony took place at Tempio Crematorio di Lugano, Via Trevano, on Thursday, March 30th. The wake followed later at The View Lugano, Via Guidino 29. A memorial service happened in Kenya at Sandies Tropical Village, Casuarina Road, Malindi, at 15:00 on the same day.

Franco Rosso’s legacy in the tourism industry will live on for years. His vision, passion, and determination have opened doors for many travellers to experience the beauty of East Africa. His contributions have also positively impacted the local communities by creating job opportunities and promoting sustainable tourism. The tourism industry has lost a true pioneer. His passing is a great loss for the industry and the world. Rest in peace, Franco Rosso.