Counties

Safari Rally drives coast hotels' boom

Mechanists doing final touches on a car hat will be driven in the East African Safari Classic Rally at Whitesands hotel on November 21, 2017. Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG
Mechanists doing final touches on a car hat will be driven in the East African Safari Classic Rally at Whitesands hotel on November 21, 2017. Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG 

Some hotels at the coast are now fully booked thanks to this year's Safari Rally which has attracted visitors from across the world.

The event, which kicks off tomorrow, is being sponsored by national carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ.

At least 36 crews from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya are participating in the rally set to start at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa.

It will see drivers cover 4,000 kilometres through a route stretching from Kenya into Tanzania.

“Our hotel is currently busy due to the rally, which has brought drivers and enthusiasts from around the world,” Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort general manager Siddharth Sathe said Wednesday.

Diani

In Diani, Neptune Group of Hotels regional operations director, Vikram Korla, said some hotels will from Sunday be full up to next week due to visitors coming for the rally.

“We are going to host visitors from the US, Europe, the Far East, Australia and Dubai, who are pouring in for the sports event,” he said.

He explained that hotel occupancy at Neptune Paradise, Neptune Village and Neptune Palm will jump to 100 per cent up from 60 per cent owing to the rally.

Taita Salt Lick Game Lodge general manager Willie Mwadilo also said the facility will be packed to capacity from Saturday.

“Apart from the rally, some visitors are also here to enjoy game drives in the Tsavo East and West National Parks,” Mr Mwadilo said.

Mr Mwadilo, who is also the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Tsavo East and West and Amboseli chairman, said lodges and camps were busy owing to a rise in international wildlife enthusiasts.

Local visitors

Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) chairman Victor Shitakha, said the rally had also attracted domestic tourists from Nairobi.

“We have some locals, who travelled to Mombasa by Madaraka Express trains and by air so as to witness this year’s safari rally,” he said.

Hotel occupancy in Mombasa, he added, is averaging at 60 per cent thanks to the rally, conferences and charter flights between European cities and Mombasa.

Mr Shitakha, who is also the chief executive of Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels, said the school holidays had boosted local tourism.

“Some families from Nairobi and upcountry are in Mombasa for holiday taking advantage of the school break,” he added.

Conference tourism, he said, had also generated business to hotels with counties, non-governmental organisations, corporate firms and parastatals holding meetings in Mombasa.