Valuable lessons from World Rally Championship

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 00:00 | By
President Uhuru Kenyatta and International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Jean Todt interact with rally drivers during the flagging off of the 2021 WRC Safari Rally at KICC in Nairobi yesterday. Photo/PD/PHILLIP KAMAKYA

Kenya reaped big from the just concluded Safari Rally after the country returned to hosting the World Rally Championship (WRC) circuit with an estimated Sh6 billion boom to the economy.

Indeed, the comeback was long overdue and the timing perfect. Coming on the back of an economy harangued by the Covid-19 pandemic, the race’s preparation and execution is stuff economic enablers are made of.

This one was served hot despite Kenya having stayed out in the cold since 2002.

Mapped out as a legacy project to improve the conditions of Kenya’s host institutions, the host Nakuru County and the entire economy, the intent to lead and deliver a thrilling show was palpable.

The take-home was that with proper planning and a commonness of purpose, we can achieve great things as a nation amid the pandemic. Indeed, the race is an inspiration to all Kenyans to forge ahead with enthusiasm and a clear sense of purpose.

Kenya literally welcomed people from all corners of the world, with hotels in Naivasha impressively booked as hundreds of guests thronged the town to cheer the drivers.

An estimated 10,000 people from all over the world attended the event, highlighting the impact of the iconic race that returned after 19 years.

The toughest race in the world had been projected to converge over 825 million visitors in various forms including live spectators, online games participants on Safari Play Station and global television viewership.

The government had purposed to attract more than 1.5 billion online impressions making the event truly unique.

The success of the race teaches us many valuable lessons, among them the need to prepare well for future races by working closely with various experts.

The event marketed Kenya internationally with the drivers showing lots of love for the magnificent sceneries which most of us take for granted.

Importantly, the event was a signal that the long suffering Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) business could soon be back, and it is about time to see how the sector can rejuvenate amid the pandemic.

Since we cannot predict when the pandemic will end, success of the rally is proof that great things happen when people come together. 

If Kenya must continue the tradition of embracing  the most challenging rally in the world, however, the government must deepen efficiency and guarantee effective delivery and improve on various structures in future, especially security and management of fans.

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