BOOST TOURISM

Hoteliers urge state to organise more international events

They say the functions have positively impacted Kenya's economy and made their businesses boom

In Summary

•Last month hospitality players recorded a booming business in the routes where the East African safari rally happened.

•Hotels and other hospitality facilities in the rally routes reported brisk business with stakeholders in the sector applauding the government for supporting the pitching of events in the country.

Drew Sturrock and Baldev chager winners of east African Safari classic rally
Drew Sturrock and Baldev chager winners of east African Safari classic rally
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Hoteliers and hospitality players in the country want the government to continue organising key international events to boost tourism.

They say the events have positively impacted Kenya's economy, made their businesses boom and put the country on the global map.

Last month hospitality players recorded a booming business in the routes where the East African safari rally happened.

Watamu in Kilifi is one of the beneficiaries where the impact of the 10th edition of the East African Rally Classic was felt. 

Kilifi beach operators association chairman Justin Kitao said businesses were at their peak.

“That was a reprieve to us as we recover from the impact of Covid-19 which slowed the tourism business,” Kitao said.

Hotels and other hospitality facilities in the rally routes reported brisk business with stakeholders in the sector applauding the government for supporting the pitching of events in the country.

The rally attracted 46 rally drivers including Kenyans and countries from across the globe including Europe, Asia and America.

The nine-day rally covered 5,000 kilometres across 11 counties and over 360 towns in Kenya.

Some of the counties that benefited were Nakuru, Laikipia, Kajido, Taita Taveta and Kilifi among others.

Kitsao said it was important for the state to continue organising such events as businesses work towards a full rebound.

“It is important we continue having these and more events to ensure that we continually attract acting and showcasing the country,” he said.

Ocean Sports proprietor Florian Biziere said Kenya was quickly positioning international events to grow the destination to the global limelight.

He said the rally has helped showcase tourism attractions and kept Kenya top of mind among travellers.

A spot check in some of the resorts in Watamu shows booming business in the hotels, cottages, local eateries, restaurants and bars due to the large number of people who came to witness the rally.

White Cup Beer company one of the sponsors of the rally also campaigned for safe driving by sensitising people not to drink and drive.

Abi Ratemo, the brand manager, said their role in the East African Classic Safari Rally was to drive responsible drinking and were happy to have reached out to many people.

He said they were happy to drive the conversation of safe driving through motorsports.

Naivasha-based Matteo’s restaurant owner Francesco Checchini described the rally event as an economic booster at all times.

“This is an absolutely important event, and it allows us to promote this beautiful country,” he said.

Ocean Sports Resort Watamu  proprietor Florian Biziere said Kenya was quickly positioning international events to grow the destination to a global limelight

He said the rally has helped showcase tourism attractions and kept Kenya top of mind among travellers.

The hoteliers spoke in Naivasha and Watamu at the sideline of the East Africa Safari rally classic which started on February 10.

In a statement, Kenya Tourism Board chief executive Betty Radier said KTB has strategically identified international events that can be used to position the destination brand for global visibility.

“We acknowledge that events are boosting our economy, especially on tourism business and we will continue to leverage them to boost our destination,” the CEO said.

Watamu resident Njeri Mutahi said the rally was fun and it supported their small businesses.

She said the government should organise more such international events.

Resident Ali Yusuf said they were happy to see visitors in large numbers due to the safari rally.

The event brought together 90 international lady golfers from 25 different countries among them US, Britain and Germany.

Kenya will in June host the World Rally Championship, the second time after Kenya signed a five-year deal to have the event till 2026.

The event recorded a comeback last year after a 19-year hiatus.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

World renowned rally driver Ken Block celebrates his finish at the East africa safari classic last month at the Ocean sports resort in Watamu
World renowned rally driver Ken Block celebrates his finish at the East africa safari classic last month at the Ocean sports resort in Watamu
Image: ALPHONCE GARI
Spectators watching the rally drivers racingin amboseli national park during this year's east african classic Safari rally one of the international events that really boosted tourism in Kenya
Spectators watching the rally drivers racingin amboseli national park during this year's east african classic Safari rally one of the international events that really boosted tourism in Kenya
Image: ALPHONCE GARI
Drew Sturrock and Baldev chager winners of east African Safari classic rally
Drew Sturrock and Baldev chager winners of east African Safari classic rally
Image: ALPHONCE GARI
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