EFFECT ON BUSINESSES

Mixed reactions for hoteliers, traders as Safari Rally lights up Naivasha

For hoteliers, they were all smiles after recording full bookings.

In Summary

• For hoteliers, they were all smiles after recording full bookings while small-scale traders including hawkers were experiencing low sales but they were optimistic that this would change.

• One of the traders Carol noted that their sales were down due to the low numbers of visitors in the lakeside town.

Rally drivers arrive in Naivasha from Nairobi for the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Kedong ranch as the long-awaited event kicked off. Several roads leading into and out of the town were closed for the better hours of Friday morning to allow the rally cars to pass leading to massive traffic snarl-up.
Rally Rally drivers arrive in Naivasha from Nairobi for the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Kedong ranch as the long-awaited event kicked off. Several roads leading into and out of the town were closed for the better hours of Friday morning to allow the rally cars to pass leading to massive traffic snarl-up.
Image: George Murage

There were mixed reactions for traders in Naivasha as revellers started arriving in the town for the World Rally Championship (WRC) that was taking place in Kedong ranch.

For hoteliers, they were all smiles after recording full bookings while small-scale traders including hawkers were experiencing low sales but they were optimistic that this would change.

Several roads leading into and out of the town were closed for the better hours of Friday morning to allow the rally cars to pass leading to massive traffic snarl-up.

According to Mark Kariuki the proprietor of Labelle Inn, all major hotels in the town were fully booked terming the rally as a blessing for the traders.

“We have lost a lot due to the pandemic and we are now fully booked and we hope next year the rally will be bigger and better,” he said.

This was echoed by the General Manager Hylisse hotel Geoffrey Mariga who said that they were booked by the rally organizers for the whole of this month.

Rally drivers arrive in Naivasha from Nairobi for the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Kedong ranch as the long-awaited event kicked off. Several roads leading into and out of the town were closed for the better hours of Friday morning to allow the rally cars to pass leading to massive traffic snarl-up.
Rally Rally drivers arrive in Naivasha from Nairobi for the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Kedong ranch as the long-awaited event kicked off. Several roads leading into and out of the town were closed for the better hours of Friday morning to allow the rally cars to pass leading to massive traffic snarl-up.
Image: George Murage

“The rally is a big blessing for the hospitality industry which was adversely affected by the pandemic and right now all hotels in Naivasha are full,” he said.

One of the traders Carol noted that their sales were down due to the low numbers of visitors in the lakeside town.

“Currently our sales are low but we expect this to pick up later on as the number of guests slowly started to increase,” she said.

This was echoed by her colleague Ann Wambui who noted that the town was yet to feel the effects of the rally despite Naivasha town trending in social media.

She said that they had increased their stocks adding that they were looking forward to the weekend when the number of revellers would swell.

“At the moment business is low despite the high expectations but we hope that the number of visitors will increase over the weekend,” she said.

The chairman Naivasha matatu operators Stephen Mungai however noted that the number of passengers arriving in the town had shot up sharply.

He termed the transport business as booming adding that the number of visitors was rising by the hour due to the international event.

“Matatus coming from Nairobi are fully booked but the challenge is going back as the numbers are very low but we are happy with the current situation,” he said.