Rabella Wendy Omollo from Homa Bay County is Kenya’s Miss Tourism 2016.
Rabella floored 44 other contestants to win the coveted Miss Tourism Kenya title in a colourful ceremony held at Kidundu Stadium in Central Maragoli, Vihiga County on Sunday June 19.
The First runner-up slot went to Miss Tourism Uasin Gishu County Laura Kezia, and the second runner-up position went to Miss Tourism Bomet County Winnieh Chepng’etich Rop.
The six semi-finalists included: Miss Tourism Meru County, Nyeri County, Murang’a County, Homa Bay County, Uasin Gishu County and Bomet County.
Rabella impressed the panel of judges with her adept catwalk, prowess in communication, tall posture, graceful smile, effortless demeanor and ingenuity in marketing Kenya as must-go tour destination.
“We have to admit that nobody wants to go to a country that is not peaceful. Kenya is a very peaceful country. We have 42 different tribes and 42 different cultures. But we are brought together by ‘Kenyanism’.
“We live peacefully and this is one country that you can always come into and you will not feel you are different. We have a saying that goes: ‘Hakuna matata Kenya’. Everyone from any part of the world is welcomed to Kenya.
“Come live with us, come tour with us because Kenya is an ultimate tour destination. We have wildlife. And it is only in Kenya where you find the eighth wonder of the world – that is the wildebeest migration that is coming up next month.
“I would advise everyone in the gathering to continue marketing Kenya because nobody is going to make Kenya great if not us. Kama sio sisi, nani atafanya Kenya ikae vizuri? Karibuni Kenya,” said Rabella in an emotional message which sent the crowd into cheers.
Rabella was crowned by immediate former Miss Tourism Kenya from Baringo County Jacqueline Jeruto Komen at 4:45am on Sunday.
Rabella’s mother and close relatives were present to witness their kin’s big moment.
Rabella also towered above her competitors from the Lake Victoria Nyanza region (Nyamira, Kisii, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Kisumu) in the category of traditional dance.
She exclusively told eDaily that she did not expect to emerge victorious.
“I gave it my best but I did not see it coming. That explains why I was confused on stage the moment I was announced the winner of Miss Tourism Kenya 2016. Nonetheless, it is a good feeling. Every lady who represented her county was a major competitor – and I treat them with a lot of respect.
“I have been a breast cancer awareness ambassador for long – and I will use my position as Miss Tourism Kenya to raise more awareness and see how we can reduce cases of death resulting from breast cancer,” Rabella told eDaily.
Besides the six semi-finalists led by Rabella, other models who made it to the top ten include: Miss Toursim Busia County, Miss Tourism Kajiado County, Miss Tourism Kwale County and Miss Tourism Kirinyaga County.
Miss Tourism Mombasa County bagged herself Miss Congeniality award following her zeal, determination and sense of self-belief that disability is not inability as she triumphed over her inability to speak or hear – and emerged the ultimate beauty to represent Mombasa in the national Miss Tourism contest.
Miss Tourism Kenya 2016 gala attracted attendance by top government dignitaries and leaders.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Water and Irrigation CS Eugene Wamalwa, Mining CS Dan Kazungu, Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Deputy governors of Mombasa, Busia and Siaya counties, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri among other administrators graced the occasion.
Kenyan gospel bigwig Mercy Masika and rap icon King Kaka thrilled the powered up gathering.
Kidundu Stadium was packed to capacity – and the crowd behaved well throughout the exercise.
Governor Akaranga urged Kenyans to use such opportunities to interact and blend.
“We have brought you big things in Vihiga County. And we should use such an opportunity to get to know one another. Vihiga people should know people from Embu, Turkana and the rest of Kenyans; vice versa too should happen. Our Kenya is one Kenya. I urge politicians to learn from the models – they come from different counties, but they are just one!
“We must protect our country jealously.”