Let’s use Safari Rally to showcase Kenya
The time is finally here for the much-awaited World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally which will be held in Naivasha between June 23 and 25.
The event normally attracts millions of viewers around the globe making it a great opportunity for the country to market itself across borders.
It is estimated that the power stage competed on the final day, which displays scenic images of the Geothermal plant in Olkaria will be watched by more than 700 million viewers around the world, a priceless chance to market the country’s tourism, agriculture and energy sector.
With less than 20 days to go, event organisers must now work round the clock to ensure that all is in place, in good time and offer another world-class event as the Safari Rally celebrates 70 years.
With roughly Sh6 billion set to be pumped into the economy, the hotel industry especially around Naivasha must be prepared to host thousands of fans and provide high-class service at affordable rates.
Players in the sector also have a moral duty to offer affordable prices and not exploit Kenyans already ravaged by a struggling economy.
Vendors are also in for good business as witnessed in the previous events.
Law enforcers must also be on the lookout for offenders, especially petty thieves, violators of road safety rules and carjackers.
The Ministry of Sports and the Local Organising Committee should embark on aggressive advertising and publicity towards the event to prepare the atmosphere and attract local enthusiasts.
Beyond Safari Rally, Kenyans need to exploit our prowess in Rugby 7s, athletics, golf and other international sports to draw visitors to our coastal beach resorts, beautiful highlands, the Great Rift Valley landscapes and the enticing sands of the northern regions.
A study by Kenyatta University on the development of sports tourism revealed that it can only be successful if reinforced by government goodwill.
According to research, sports journalism could help create jobs for citizens, a source of income to many and tax to the government, a good way of relaxing after heavy work schedules and a way of overcoming youth crime in communities.
We hope the Sports and Tourism ministries will rise to the occasion and make the country proud.