Business in Naivasha booms thanks to rally competitions

Business in Naivasha booms thanks to rally competitions

CRS rally team racing cars arrive at the WRC KWS Service Park in Naivasha during scrutineering, free practice and installation of tracking devices ahead of the African Rally Championships to be held from Friday April 22-25, 2021.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Hoteliers are rubbing their hands with glee with anticipated windfall from two major events happening within the lakeside town of Naivasha, the main one being the Word Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally from June 24 to 27, 2021.

But the Equator Rally, which starts today, has also given the hospitality players a shot in the arm, with several hotels within Naivasha’s central business district being fully booked for the dry run event.

The Equator Rally is a precursor of the June WRC Safari Rally and the bookings have inspired the hotel operators following a tumultuous economic time, occasioned by the ripple effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The business is booming and we have at least seven middle level hotels booked for the weekend event.

“We have even recalled workers who were sent home after the county was locked down,” said Nakuru County Naivasha chapter tourism association treasurer and Panorama hotel general manager, Sammy Mugo.

He said the rally will shore up business that has experienced a slump since the first case of the coronavirus was reported in the country in March last year.

“Recently, we had to contend with cancelled Easter bookings after the government announced revised measures that saw five counties, including Nakuru, being put under lockdown,” added Mugo.  The official said 65 rooms within his facility (Panorama Hotel) had been booked for the event, terming it “a major financial turn-around.”

Mugo said that he was in constant communication with hotel owners, acknowledging that the majority of them are greatly benefiting from the international competition.

“They (hoteliers) have recalled a good number of their workers and they are putting their best foot forward, knowing the significance of the event,” added Mugo.

Also bubbly about the Africa Rally Championship event is the Hylise hotel general manager Geoffrey Mariga who revealed that all the 58 rooms at the facility are reserved for the weekend event. “The business is booming … the rallying event has given us optimism and the returns are certainly good,” said Mariga.

The hotel has in the past few weeks hosted rallying officials and scribes, and is also a favourite with participants and motorsport enthusiasts.

Both events have captured the attention of the municipality team with the Chairman of the Services Committee and Naivasha Professionals Association (NPA) secretary general, Absalom Mukuusi, who termed rallying as “the best moment of showcasing Naivasha.”

“There is no other better way of marketing Naivasha other than the two international events. Naivasha is in the global map and the multiplier effect will be enjoyed in many years to come,” pointed out Mukuusi.

The event, he added, will help the municipality team identify infrastructural gaps and work on areas that needed improvement.