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Hoteliers urge State to pitch for more events

Baldev Chager wins the 10th East African Safari Classic Rally on Feb 13, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Players in the hospitality industry want the government to continue pitching for key international events which position Kenya as a tourism destination.

Reacting to the ripple effects of the just concluded East African Safari Rally Classic that ended at Ocean Sports in Watamu yesterday, hoteliers said such events have a positive economic impact that goes beyond the primary event.

“International events hosted in the country have a multiplier effect. We are calling on the government to position the country for more events following the reduction of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Naivasha’s Sawela Lodge general manager George Ndung'u.

Kilifi County Beach Operators Association chair Justin Kitao said the direction the government has taken to support and partner with the private sector in hosting international events was positively contributing to the economy of the country.

“Because of the East African Classic Rally, businesses were at their peak. This is a reprieve for us as we recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kitao.

The rally attracted 46 drivers from Kenya, Europe, Asia, and the US. It covered 5,000 kilometres across 11 counties and over 360 towns, highlighting key tourism attractions in Nakuru, Laikipia, Kajiado, Taita Taveta and Kilifi.

Victor Muthama, the general manager at Watamu-based Hemingways Hotel said bed occupancy attributed to the rally peaked at 60 per cent during the period.

Naivasha-based Matteo’s Restaurant proprietor Francesco Checchini termed the rally an economic booster, “since it gives us an opportunity to promote this beautiful country.”

Kenya Tourism Board CEO Betty Radier said the State corporation has identified international events that can be used to position the destination brand for global visibility.

“We are acknowledging the fact that events have become key economic pillars, especially in the tourism business.

"We will continue to leverage on them to boost our destination,” said Radier.