Hospitality sector reports buoyant business and applauds government for support

Hoteliers and hospitality stakeholders across the country want the government to continue showcasing key international events which they believe have had a positive impact on Kenya’s economy.

International events, they said, have given them business in addition to their larger role of putting the destination on the world map.

“International events held in the country have a multiplier effect and as a nation we call on the government to position the country for more events,” said Sewela Lodge Naivasha General Manager George Ndung’u.

Kilifi County Beach Operators Association President Justin Kitao said the government’s leadership in supporting and partnering with the private sector to organize international events is contributing positively to the country’s economy.

Hospitality players were reacting to the impact of the 10and edition of the East African Rally Classic which ended this weekend in Watamu, County Kilifi.

“Due to the classic East Africa Rally, businesses in hotels, restaurants and beach operations were at their peak, this is a reprieve for us as we recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has slowed down tourist activities,” the president said. .

Hotels and other hospitality establishments along the rally routes reported buoyant business activity, with industry stakeholders applauding the government for its support in staging upcoming events in the country.

The rally attracted 46 rally drivers including Kenyans and countries around the world including Europe, Asia and America. The legendary nine-day rally covered 5,000 kilometers across 11 counties and over 360 towns in Kenya.

Some of the counties that have received international media attention due to the rally routes include Nakuru, Laikipia, Kajido, Taita and Kilifi among others.

Kitao stressed the importance for the government to continue to organize such events in the country, especially now that most businesses were working towards a full rebound “It is important that we continue to organize these and other events for us ensure that we continue to attract actors and showcase the country,” he added.

Naivasha-based Matteo’s restaurant owner Francesco Checchini called the rally event an economic boost at all times, “It’s an absolutely important event, and it gives us an opportunity to promote this beautiful country,” said he declared.

Ocean Sports owner Florian Biziere said Kenya is quickly positioning international events as a way to develop the destination into the global spotlight.

He said the East Africa Rally Classic has helped to enhance tourist attraction and keep Kenya top of mind for travellers.

Hoteliers were speaking in Naivasha and Watamu on the sidelines of the classic East Africa Safari rally which started on 10th of February 2022.

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO, Dr Betty Radier, said the KTB has strategically identified international events that can be used to position the destination brand for global exposure.

“We indeed recognize that events drive our economy, particularly in the tourism sector, and we will continue to leverage this to energize our destination,” the CEO said.

She revealed that Kenya will host the Magical Kenya Open from 3rd at 6and March, offering the destination the opportunity to strengthen its profile as both a tourist destination and an investment, . The event will take place on the heels of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open which was held on 10and at 13and February at Vipingo Ridge, Baobab Trail, County Kilifi.

The event brought together 90 international female golfers from 25 different countries, including the United States, Great Britain and Germany.

Kenya will host the World Rally Championship (WRC) in June, the second time after Kenya signed a five-year deal to stage the event until 2026. The event recorded a comeback last year after a hiatus of 19 years.

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