BWIRE: Safari Rally offers opportunity to market Kenya

World Rally Championship on Kenyan soil is arguably one of the finest things.

In Summary
  • The cars have roll cages for extra safety to protect the drivers from being injured in the event of an accident.
  • This is in addition to the normal airbags.
The 2023 WRC Safari Rally.
The 2023 WRC Safari Rally.
Image: FILE

The meticulous preparations, military precision, technical acumen, human brains and financial resources involved in the World Rally Championship (WRC) make this global event worth its billing.

A visit to the service park at the Kenya Wildlife Service managed to place within the National Park on the outskirts of Naivasha town and looking at the technical work, verification technology equipment and manpower deployed, you can appreciate why this motorsport is so successful and exciting.

The vehicle verification machines, fuel centre, media centre and driver interview point, the marshals, technical crews, drivers, hotel staff, both local and international, running sponsor banners, and vehicle parts assembled at the place are amazing.

The organisational skills required to manage the KICC official start venue, the Kasarani Special Stage, the service park the routes and the Hells Gate finish point, of the WRC that starts tomorrow in Nairobi is a pointer to why Kenya should be proud that it’s hosting the event, the only country in sub-Sahara Africa, bestowed with the opportunity, facilities and endowed with natural resources fit for such a global motor sporting event.

WRC on Kenyan soil is arguably one of the finest things that in addition to the routine benefits that it brings to Kenya, if well a few events are capitalised on, will boost the country’s effort to improve not only showcase its investment opportunities in business including tourism but increase its credibility among the community nations.

In addition to the already mentioned economic-related effects including accommodation, transport, and short-term employment that Naivasha, the host of the WRC has reported, WRC is a global sporting event, whose pre, during and post-preparations bring together the organizers, government, sponsors, and teams working over months to assemble machines and humans from in the country and abroad.

WRC, the second oldest of the FIA's world championships after Formula One is an international rallying series owned and governed by the FIA.

Akin to the car modifications done to the miraa carrying pickups from Meru, behind the highly skilled drivers and hardworking crew teams backed up with huge financial and technological investments for car manufacturers and sponsors, winning or mere participation in the rally requires huge investment.

They make the cars fly as they usually do, the cars use fossil-free jet fuel and see related modifications including but not limited to increasing the engine displacement up to 2.0L, forced induction addition of four-wheel drive, fitment of a sequential gearbox, modified suspension layout and attachment points, aerodynamic body modifications, weight reduction to a minimum. 

To withstand the rough conditions on the rallying route, the cars have their chassis fitted with outer shells which also make them light allowing them to move with lightning speed.

The cars have roll cages for extra safety to protect the drivers from being injured in the event of an accident. This is in addition to the normal airbags.

These events are bringing to huge numbers of visitors to Kenya and provide massive opportunities to Kenyans in various ways, which we need to show case.

Our strength as a county lies in the business and hospitality industry, and as we work on improve the lives of our people, we need to many times apply some principles of development journalism and media as an agent of social change. A lot is happening in the country that is changing the lives of many.

For those charged with the responsibility of marketing the country and by extension the media, its desirable that we assist in creating awareness of Kenya's offerings, attracting high-quality visitors and investors while growing and developing mutually beneficial relationships with key players in the global investment space.

Those with information need to share it with the media proactively so that media carries big stories about the various international events that the country is hosting.

Most times, we have failed to market the diversified nature of the Kenya brand. In addition to the traditional tourism products Kenya has, the country has a lot more to offer; consumers need to know that there is much more than the beach and wildlife to promote other tourist-related opportunities.

That Kenya is East Africa's commercial hub needs to be highlighted. That Kenya is home to the finest athletes' needs massive exposure. That Kenya is a stepping stone to the EAC and CO MESA markets needs top of mind presence.

That Kenya has the highest concentration of universities must come out.

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