Hoteliers and hospitality players in Kenya are calling on the government to continue pitching for key international events which they say have had a positive impact on Kenya’s economy. According to them, international events have given them business besides their bigger role of putting the country on the global map. The hospitality players were reacting to the impact of the 10th edition of East African Rally Classic that ended over the weekend in Watamu, Kilifi County.

The rally attracted 46 rally drivers including Kenyans and countries from across the globe including Europe, Asia, and America. The nine-day rally covered 5,000 Kilometres across 11 counties and over 360 towns in Kenya. Hotels and other hospitality facilities in the rally routes reported brisk business with stakeholders in the sector applauding the government for supporting pitching of events to come to the country. Some of the counties that benefited from the international media limelight because of the rally routes include Nakuru, Laikipia, Kajido, Taita, and Kilifi among others.

Naivasha-based Matteo’s Restaurant proprietor Francesco Checchini termed the rally event as an economic booster at all times. “This is an absolutely important event, and it gives us an opportunity to promote this beautiful country,” he said.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO Dr. Betty Radier said KTB has strategically identified international events that can be used to position the destination brand for global visibility. “We are indeed acknowledging the fact that events are boosting our economy especially on tourism business and we will continue to leverage them to boost our destination,” she said, adding that Kenya will be hosting the Magical Kenya Open from 3rd to 6th March.

In June this year, Kenya will be hosting the World Rally Championship (WRC), the second time after signing a five-year deal to have the event till 2026. The event recorded a comeback last year after a 19-year hiatus