Naivasha readies to host visitors for the Safari
The WRC Safari Rally Chief executive Officer Phineas Kimathi has indicated that the initial plan was to have more than 200,000 guests but the number was reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Despite the Covid-19 set back, the motorsport event will be broadcast live in 155 countries with a viewership of about 850 million spectators,” Kimathi said.
He thanked the Nakuru Country Tourism Association (NCTA) for partnering with Safari Rally organisers to ensure a successful event.
He underscored the economic benefit of the event to Kenya, citing this year’s Equator Rally during which Naivasha town hosted about 5,000 guests.
“We expected the bed capacity to double during the WRC event, with some of the hoteliers setting up tents to cater for the increased number of guests, '' said the Safari Rally CEO.
NCTA chairman, David Mwangi revealed that at least 100 hotels have been booked ahead of the global event.
He said the purpose of training senior hoteliers in the region was to equip them with requisite skills and know-how to enable them handle guests well.
“The training will be cascaded down to particular hotels and organisations. At least 10,000 hospitality staff are expected to benefit from the training before the Safari Rally starts,” Mwangi said.
He said they were working closely with WRC Safari Rally Kenya Secretariat to ensure a good experience for visitors.
He said the hospitality sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and exuded hope that the Safari Rally will help accelerate tourism recovery.
“We are not out of the woods yet but hosting the event is surely an economic turnaround for many of us in the industry,” he admitted.
A majority of the workers in the hospitality sector in Naivasha and in many parts of Kenya have lost jobs, while others have been put on unpaid leave.