The Tourism Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib Balala on Friday assured environmentalists and stakeholders of the Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha that the forthcoming World Rally Championship will not interfere with the movement of wildlife at the park.
The assurance comes in the wake of concerns from environmentalist over a possible interference of the Championship slated for July this year and whose routes passes through the park.
According to the CS, the international rally will not interfere with the tens of wildlife and endangered vultures in the troubled park that also hosts geothermal wells located at Olkaria area.
Already environmental experts have opposed the forthcoming Koroga festival set to be held in the park next month, saying it might disrupt the operations within the park.
Balala, who led a government delegation and the rally organizers in visiting the park and hotels in Naivasha where the rally cars will pass through, assured that the championships will have minimal interferences and urged the park stakeholders to support the event.
The CS further said that the rally organizers and events coordinators were comfortable with the routes chosen along various sites in the park, adding that part of the funds raised from the event would go towards saving the parks endangered vultures and also environmental projects.
“We have identified rally route around the park and we don’t have to seek new roads for this event which will also be used to sell Kenya as a tourist destination point,” he said.
On service center, Balala said that the organizers would expand the current graduation square at KWS Training Institute and use the nearby Sanctuary farm to host the rally equipment and machinery.
He added that between 80,000 to 100,000 visitors were expected in the country for the event, adding that the government was keen to make sure that this event was a success.
Balala noted that plans were under way to construct a waterfront at Lake Naivasha which will be used during the rallying event and explained that KWS had ample and unutilized land near the lake for the construction of the waterfront.
The Chairman Kenya Motorsport Federation, Phineas Kimathi said that all was set for the event which would attract drivers and viewers from all over the world, adding that hotels in the area were fully booked.
He disclosed that about Sh.6 billion would be spent on the event and that hoteliers as well as small traders in the area were expected to reap big from the event.
By Esther Mwangi/Brian Kamau