How Classic Rally is poised to boost Kenya's economy

Rally driver Olga Lounaga and co-driver Lilia Khousnoutdinova are joined by fans during the flagging off ceremony of the 2023 East African Safari Classic (EASCR) at Vipingo Ridge . [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The 2023 East African Safari Classic (EASCR) zoomed off at Vipingo Ridge on Saturday with a 12km prologue that saw the drivers seeded ahead of Monday's rally proper.

The global motorsports showpiece is expected to inject life into the Kenyan economy as it traverses 11 counties.

From Kilifi, Mombasa, Samburu, Voi, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kajiado, Voi, Kwale among others, Kenyans are bracing for the exciting car extravaganza.

Already Vipingo is booming with businesses as boda bodas riders are busy ferrying revelers and spectators to the venue and back.

"I have not slept since the vehicles started arriving here on Monday. I have been carrying passenger who go to Vipingo to either party or watch the cars scrutineered.

"Today (Saturday) the business is even better as spectators are arriving here early to occupy best positions at the spectators’ stage," Clement Mwangali, a boda boda operator in Kilifi, told Standard Sports.

According to the EASCR organisers, the 2023 edition of the grueling race will rope in approximated Sh232, 264, 350 million (USD1.5 million) in terms of foreign investments.

This figure will mostly be contributed by the 44 foreign drivers and their teams who are considered high spenders in the rally.

"Each team is expected to spend approximated Sh3,871,072 (USD 250000) during their stay in Kenya," the EASCR stated.

The 10-day contest has drawn more than 63 entrants, from across Kenya and a further

afield.

Already over 800 hotel beds per nights have been booked across 25 hotels in the various counties where the motorsports challenge will be held.

"Over 350 cars are expected to pass through these counties, already Sh92,905,740 (USD600,000) has been recorded in terms of hotel bookings in the zones," the federation stated.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) will net around Sh11,613,217 (USD75,000) in Park fees from the rally, giving a welcome boost to the custodians of the country’s stunning wildlife and landscapes.

Other beneficiaries of the rally will be local businesses including restaurants, car rental companies, logistics firms, tourist attractions and car mechanics; as well as thousands of individuals who will be involved in the world toughest motorsports showpiece.

It is worth noting that the investment that the EASCR will stimulate in Kenya will not be at a cost to the environment. 

It is one of the only rallies worldwide to be Carbon free off-setting emissions from cars and helicopter flights through carbon credits. 

In addition, drivers and teams planted trees in Kilifi County ahead of the start of the rally, which is a sustainable action on climate change as aligned with Kenyan Government sustainability initiatives.

This year’s entrants in the rally have a net worth of over USD100 billion as the EASCR showcases Magical Kenya rally organisers are convinced some of them will consider future investments in Kenya.

“It is wonderful to host an event in Kenya that generates such a large and timely boost to both Kenyan rallying and tourism across 11 counties and multiple State-owned and private Enterprises," the EASCR Chief Executive Officer Jeet Ghose underlined.

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