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Ugandans throng Naivasha for WRC Safari Rally

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is seizing the marketing opportunity presented by the upcoming WRC Safari Rally to promote destination Kenya and stimulate travel especially in the East African region.

KTB Ag Chief Executive John Chirchir says that the world-famous motorsport tournament has immense potential for tourism growth and is among the board’s key strategies to boost arrivals from the wider East African region.

This, he noted, goes by the increasing number of tourist arrivals from the neighbouring East African countries which now rank among Kenya’s top source markets.

“The upcoming WRC Safari Rally is a prime opportunity to showcase Kenya and the East African region’s unique tourism offerings to motorsports enthusiasts and leisure travellers alike. A source market like Uganda now firmly ranks second to the USA in terms of tourist arrivals to Kenya, having contributed 125,556 visitors in 2023 compared to 87,448 in 2022 – a 43.6% growth.

“Tanzania and Rwanda also feature prominently among our top ten source markets. We want to further stimulate interest and travel in what is an important regional bloc for us,” Chirchir stated.

As part of this integrated experiential marketing campaign, KTB is hosting a number of motorsports fans from Uganda ahead of the WRC Safari Rally that is set to roar into action this week.

The board is partnering with Rally Hunters – Uganda, a motor enthusiast association with the aim of raising awareness and participation in the rally as well as encouraging Ugandans to leverage on their time in Kenya to savour Kenya’s tourism experiences.

Kenya’s high Commissioner to Uganda Major General (Rtd) George Owinow was at hand to flag off the fans in Uganda.

The 160 motorsports fans drawn from various rally groups among Uganda’s motorsports community were on Wednesday morning treated to a breakfast meet and greet in Naivasha ahead of their curated itineraries that will offer them a glimpse of the country’s diverse tourism offerings. The fans were able to catch up with the ‘shakedown’ at Loldia , a major highlight of the overall event.

Chirchir noted that this initiative is aimed at capturing the interests of a well-defined niche market with high potential.

“There is no better way to experience the excitement of the WRC Safari Rally than being part of it. Uganda’s fervour for motorsports extends beyond their borders, influencing the broader African motorsports culture. We want to give the Uganda motorsports fans a first-hand feel of what Kenya has to offer beyond the adrenaline-filled rally tracks,” he remarked.

Besides marketing the East Africa region as a single tourism circuit, the KTB Ag CEO was optimistic of such initiatives in further complementing and boosting intra-Africa travel.

“Conversations around marketing in the East African region as a single tourism circuit have been gaining momentum of late and the WRC Safari Rally is just but a starting point to realizing this vision. What we are doing is laying the groundwork and setting the pace for further collaborations in promoting intra-Africa travel,” Chirchir added.

Ugandan rally enthusiast and CEO Rally hunters -Uganda James Emaru says: “It’s a dream come true to come and experience the Rally here in Kenya. This is an event that brings in people from all walks of life, motorsport has given us the opportunity to tour Kenya. The fans that have come here have a lot of expectation; we look forward to the action from the rally. The cultural exchange between us and Kenyans is also rally great” said Emaru.

The WRC Safari Rally is slated for March 28-31.

KTB will be looking to boost destination visibility and showcase Kenya’s unique tourism offerings to motorsports enthusiasts and leisure travellers alike.

The board in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and the WRC recently hosted top drivers for an excursion trip to the Maasai Mara National Reserve as part of this integrated campaign to immerse key influencers in the quintessential Kenyan safari experience.

Also read: Drivers gear up for thrilling Safari Rally with thrilling shakedown

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