The Naivasha World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari rally that just ended added more than $ 4 billion to the Nakuru economy, business leaders in the region said.
The international event gave a big boost to the tourism sector in particular, said Njuguna Kamau, director of the East African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, yesterday.
“The World Rally Championship in Naivasha pumped more than 4 billion shutters into the economy. All three- and four-star hotels in Naivasha – the main section of the rally circuit – Nakuru, Elementaita and Maai Mahiu – were booked for the four days, where the event took place, “he said.
The hotels reported 100 percent bookings for the four days.
The hospitality industry reported good business. At least 10,000 people, most of them spectators from all over the world, attended the event, Mr. Kamau told the nation.
Hotels fully booked
âWe had other companies outside of the hospitality industry that benefited from the WRC. The event grossed billions in the economy and was a major boost to the region’s tourism sector that was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with a sharp drop in international visitors as countries maintained strict cross-border restrictions.
The nation learned that the hotel rooms for the attendees and their crews had been pre-booked.
The foreign drivers and their accompanying teams and families even came from Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
Several hotels, including the Enashipai Resort and Spa, Sawela Lodge, Naivasha Kongoni Lodge, Lake Naivasha Resort, and Lake Naivasha Panorama Park, were fully booked.
Companies that benefited from the event included petroleum, food and beverage traders, the entertainment and hospitality industries, and street vendors.
Entrepreneurial residents turned open spaces into campsites for rally fans who couldn’t find accommodation in hotels.
They pitched tents in various locations, including a sprawling sanctuary on Moi South Lake Road.
A resident, Mr. Joseph Maina, revealed that he had pitched two tents after renting the ground for Sh 1,500. had rented the pavilion for Sh 6,500. a night went.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the countyâs tourism sector has received a massive boost from local tourists arriving for the rally, which was honored by President Uhuru Kenyatta among others on Sunday.
“As the WRC host country, we are amazed at the large number of spectators attending the event. This is a clear sign that the sport has been missed and given our hospitality industry the boost it needs. We are grateful for President Kenyatta’s announcement.” that Kenya will host the WRC until 2026, “Kinyanjui said.
“The event is a shot in the arm for the hospitality industry, which has been on its knees since the Covid-19 pandemic last year,” added the district chief.
Upswing in the hotel industry
The hospitality industry benefited greatly from the rally, according to David Mwangi, chairman of the Nakuru County Tourism Association (NCTA).
“The WRC left a lasting impression that made Nakuru a major tourist destination in the world. The event connected Kenya to the world and demonstrated its fame as an authentic safari destination, enhanced by live media coverage of the rally cars that drove the wild and scenic spots cross the region, “Mr. Mwangi told the nation.
A manager at Enashipai Resort said the rooms were fully booked, although requests for space kept pouring in.
“This is the best it can ever be. I don’t think anyone in the industry is complaining about a lack of business,” she said.
“Red light streets”
Business was brisk on Naivasha’s “red light streets” with an influx of commercial sex workers into town.
A taxi company announced to the nation that it made Sh100,000 over two days hauling visitors through Naivasha.
Nightlife, however, has been largely disrupted by the 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. curfew, which aimed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The WRC Safari Rally, directed and organized by the FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), took place from June 23rd to 27th and covered two subdistricts of Nakuru – Naivasha and Gilgil.
The rally returned to Africa after 19 years, the last one taking place in 2002.