Kenya to host World Rally Championships starting June 24
Kenya is bracing herself to host this year’s World Rally Championship (WRC) slated to begin June 24.
It will be a welcoming global event for the tourism sector which is repositioning itself to reap from the WRC with Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) terming the event a score for the destination’s positive brand visibility.
The event is a boost for a slow return of global events that had been put on hold due to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
“Coming after the Magical Kenya Open (MKO) and Savannah Classic in March this year, this is yet another major show of confidence on the destination’s resilience and preparedness for global events,” says KTB’s acting Chief executive officer Allan Njoroge.
It is slated for June 24 to June 27, 2021 after a 19-year hiatus was born as the East African Coronation Rally in 1953 as a motoring event to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
According to KTB, the history around the Safari rally was significant to Kenyans and East Africans at large as well as the United Kingdom (UK) which is one of the key source markets for Kenya’s tourism.
Naivasha, the host of the sporting event is already abuzz with all kinds of preparations with the hospitality sector expected to reap from arrivals of both local and international participants for the 4-day long event.
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On Sunday, KTB acting Chief Executive Officer alluded that the connection of the event with Kenya’s fame as an authentic safari destination will be reinforced with live media coverage of the rally cars traversing through wild scenic and beautiful locations in Nakuru county and environs.
The event will be televised to the global audience after the Tokyo Olympics.
Over 850 million viewers are expected to follow the event in its 14 rounds with a total of 13,452 broadcast hours projected through the event.
Njoroge said, the safari rally is an important opportunity to showcase what the destination has for both the domestic and international traveller.
“The scenic views of Kenya’s landscapes in the background of rally cars, has provided a perfect connection between the Safari competition and a safari tour of the destination’s tourism attractions. It is also offering an opportunity for the participants to enjoy the rally and country’s attractions through a safari”, he added.
In 1952, the Queen toured Kenya on a safari holiday at the Aberdare National Park in Nyeri. Her stay was, however, cut short by the death if her father, King George VI.
At the time, Princes Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip (the late) were at the Treetops Hotel located at the Aberdare Park during the night of February 5 and 6, 1952. She descended the forest floor as the new Queen of England.
A tour guide, Mr. Stephen Kabatha attached to the Tree Tops Hotel disclosed that when the Queen visited for the second time, she enjoyed a game drive in Aberdares park sighting different attractions including waterfalls and caves.
“One of the caves was named after her- Queens cave and has today become a big attraction for visitors from the UK and other countries besides Karuru falls which is the second longest waterfall in Africa” added the guide.
The 2021 WRC was meant to happen last year, but was postponed due to COVID-19. It comes at time when Kenya is looking forward to fully open up for tourism and gives an opportunity for the world to see some of the best destinations and also showcase the destinations preparedness.