•Local businesses in Naivasha hope that the upcoming Safari Rally championships on June 24-27 this year will boost the economic status of the town
•External investors are also trooping to the town, which bodes well for Naivasha's reputation as a tourism destination
•The event will be Kenya's first since 2002 when WRC struck it off its calendar after the country failed to fulfil the conditions prescribed by the world body
Local businesses in Naivasha hope the upcoming Safari Rally championships on June 24-27 this year will boost the economic status of the town.
With the event anticipated to pump a whopping Sh 6billion into the Kenyan economy, Naivasha Municipal Board chairman Sam Weru believes all kinds of businesses — 'mama mboga', fishmongers, petrol stations, restaurants, garages — will benefit from the financial windfall of the global event.
"It's a major milestone for us in Naivasha. We are ready to host as many guests as possible with our vast bed capacity. So we would urge the local community to not only embrace the event but also strive to enhance quality of service delivery. We anticipate about 50,000 guests to occupy our hotels. During the event, we will also urge visitors to observe environmental ethics, requisite safety standards as stipulated by the FIA as well as Government protocols on Covid," Weru said.
Weru said external investors are also trooping into the town, which bodes well for Naivasha's reputation as a tourism destination.
One of the latest to join a growing list of hospitality industry hotspots is Hylise Hotel, which has been hosting World Rally Championship officials during their visits to the country.
"Investors are also eyeing superior returns from new properties that are entering Naivasha markets. There is no doubt that hosting a major sporting event boosts the profile of the country and city. Who will not want to visit Naivasha after seeing Safari route on WRC live TV coverage? The amount of publicity will definitely sell Naivasha a world leading tourism destination," Weru said.
He also lauded the infrastructural developments ongoing in the town, noting that they will improve residents' standards of living and access to critical amenities.
"As a result of hosting the event, there is a lot of infrastructure coming up.
"The service park is under construction. Once the event is done and dusted, the infrastructure will remain here wth us. It is our hope to always continue hosting the event."
"The tree planting exercise announced last year by CS Amina Mohammed will also help improve the catchment area of Lake Naivasha. We see lots of employment opportunities for the local community who will directly benefit from the event," he said.
Furthermore, Naivasha Level 5 Hospital — expected to facilitate evacuation during the race weekend of Safari — is presently undergoing renovations with a designated helipad, ICU and HDU in place.
"The hospital has the capability to offer emergency medical services without having to depend on Nairobi.
"The new hospital facility which comprises a state of the art outpatient wing, an ICU and HDU will be complete by May 30.
"When complete, it will have capacity to take care of the WRC event," Simon Kanyingi, chairperson of the hospital," he said.
The event will be Kenya's first since 2002 when WRC struck it off its calendar after the country failed to fulfil the conditions prescribed by the world body.