Nakuru hotels sold out ahead of Kenya’s June Safari Rally

By MACHARIA MWANGI

Hoteliers in the town of Nakuru in Kenya began receiving reservations for the Safari Rally in June as residents prepare for a surge in business.

The county signed a pact last Sunday to keep the event in the World Rally Championship until 2026. This year it is scheduled for June 23-26.

Hylise Hotel General Manager Geoffrey Mariga said they had already started receiving guests ahead of the global event.

“We have reservations from those involved in the pre-sport logistics. As for the June event, our halls are full,” he revealed.

Mr Mariga also revealed that they had a busy calendar of events, especially from foreigners who had planned meetings in the lakeside town of Naivasha.

At last year’s event, hoteliers received a boost as laid-off employees returned to their jobs.

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“This is the best news I’ve heard in years…we were expecting the global event to happen, but the signing of the pact cemented everything,” said the chairman of Nakuru Country Tourism. Association (NCTA), David Mwangi.

Mr Mwangi said despite Covid-19 restrictions, the hospitality industry raked in billions of shillings from last year’s event.

“With countries around the world easing pandemic limits, we expect the Safari Rally event to be bigger and better. We are now well equipped in terms of logistics and other hospitality protocols,” the seasoned hotelier said.

At the 2021 event, the number of foreign guests was capped at 10,000 and nearly 100,000 local visitors.

Mr. Mwangi expects a high number of international travelers, which will translate into high accommodation and increased cash flow.

“We have hoteliers who have set up modern tents to accommodate a large number of rally fans. Last year we had people spending the night in their cars. We don’t want the same thing to happen again, ”assured the boss of the hotel industry.

He described rally goers “as big spenders”, with some even hiring helicopters to fly to rally areas, calling it a boon for the hospitality industry.

Mr. Njuguna Kamau, former road marshal during the events of yesteryear, war on the moon with the latest development.

He called the latest development a blessing in disguise, citing the trickle down event from the ordinary Kenyan on the streets of Naivasha to the ‘big boys’ of the city.

“Local small businesses, restaurants, street vendors, fishmongers and even car wash shops have reaped the big bucks. Personally, I never missed eating fish whenever I was in Naivasha for the preparations,” Mr. Kamau said.

He cited car wash service providers among the main beneficiaries.

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