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Safari Rally fuels Naivasha’s new business boom

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Safari Rally fuels Naivasha’s new business boom


Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop

Kenyan rally driver Carl Tundo (right) and his co-driver Tim Jessop. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NMG

Summary

  • Organisers say at least 10,000 people from all over the world are expected to attend.

Hotels in Naivasha are fully booked as hundreds of guests arrive for the eagerly awaited World Rally Championship (WRC) scheduled for this week.

Organisers say at least 10,000 people from all over the world are expected to attend.

Hyriss Hotel general manager Geoffrey Mariga said all its 65 rooms at the facility had been booked. The hotel has also hired additional workers to cope with the increase in guests.

A senior manager at Viewers Park Hotel, Ms Mary Rahab, said they had run out of rooms even as booking enquiries still streamed in.

“This the best it can ever get. I don’t think there is anyone in the sector complaining about lack of business,” she said.

“It is an iconic event that will market Kenya, with a global audience being treated to quality production and 155 television stations beaming the event live,” WRC Safari Rally chief executive officer Phineas Kimathi said.

Digital booking

The Nakuru County Tourism Association (NCTA) has unveiled a digital booking system in partnership with technology firm HPass Global for hotels, bars and restaurants.

Guests will no longer need to manually register when checking into hotels or share menus. The system allows them to access digital menus through their mobile phones and check-in and -out by just scanning a quick response (QR) code.

Speaking after signing the agreement, NCTA chairman David Mwangi said that the initiative will boost the profile of Nakuru County as a tourism destination and help curb the spread of Covid-19.

“We want Nakuru County to be a safe tourism destination. With this innovation, we can achieve up to 80 percent contact-less visitor experience,” he said.

Local innovation

“HPass is a local innovation that was born right here in Nakuru and we are happy they are supporting us achieve our goal of making Nakuru County a safe destination,” he added.

NCTA members will get complimentary access to the digital tools from HPass Global, whose founder and CEO Francis Njue said: “We are committed to supporting NCTA in its efforts to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

Nakuru County now joins other global destinations that are using innovation and technology to boost their “safe destination” commitments. Mr Mwangi said NCTA members were ready to give the event that will be beamed live the best shot.

“We expect the visitors to come back for sightseeing. We have to make a good impression,” said Mr Mwangi.

Sponsorship deal

Naivasha town also saw the signing of a sponsorship deal between mobile operator Safaricom #ticker:SCOM and Equator African Rally Championship winner Carl “Flash” Tundo.

The Safari Rally champion is also expected to mentor three young Kenyan drivers selected as part of the FIA Rally Star programme under a separate sponsorship deal with Safaricom.

“Over the years, I have had the opportunity to gain so much from the sport and, as I look forward to an exciting Safari Rally challenge, I’m equally elated to get the chance to pass on some of the knowledge I have gained to three of Kenya’s future rally stars. As far as the rally itself is concerned, I feel ready and so is the car. We’ll give it our best shot and appreciate Safaricom for believing in us and coming on board,” said Mr Tundo.

He will be driving a Minti Motorsports VW Polo R5, the same car that saw him clinch the 2021 ARC Equator Rally.

“I am excited and pleased to be associated with Safaricom in supporting the team. We wish them every success in the WRC event which thankfully has returned to Kenya. Minti Motorsports, although a UK company, have their hearts in Kenyan rallying and especially in developing young talent in Kenyan Motorsports. It is our dream to have a world champion from Kenya one day,” said Minti Motorsports director Joey Ghose.

Mr Tundo is a five-time winner of the Safari Rally and in 2009 was crowned Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) champion, making him the first and only Kenyan winner of an IRC round.

Nurturing young drivers

“The fact that Carl Tundo is one of the few Kenyan drivers who took part in the last WRC Safari Rally speaks to how experienced and consistent he is. We are proud to be sponsoring one of Kenya’s best rally drivers as well as three of the most promising ones,” said Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Safaricom’s partnership with Mr Tundo brings their investment in the WRC Safari Rally to Sh21 million. Earlier this week, the telco announced a Sh17.5 million sponsorship for the rally as it makes its return to the WRC calendar for the first time in close to two decades. The sponsorship includes Sh15 million to support three young Kenyan drivers selected as part of the FIA Rally Star programme.

This is a global initiative aimed at identifying, training and developing talented young drivers between the ages of 17 and 26.

The three Kenyan drivers who have been selected for the FIA Rally star programme are Jeremy Wahome, Hamza Anwar and McRae Mutwiri Kimathi.

No matatus

Meanwhile, matatus have been ordered out of the central business district, Naivasha Sub-county police boss Samuel Waweru told the Nation.

“We have to be on top of things and one way to ensure that is by clearing traffic in areas prone to snarl-ups. We have stationed officers to ensure everything is being done according to the script,” said the police boss.

The event has also seen the prompt completion of a bridge that was being refurbished on a stretch of the Naivasha-Maai Mahiu highway. 

Motorists have for the past few months endured tough times after they were re-routed to allow for the completion of the bridge.



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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
  • The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.

The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.

Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.

KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.

The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.

India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.

Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.

India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.

A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.



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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs


mitumba

Man pulls a cart loaded with second-hand clothes at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
  • Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.

Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.

Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.

TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.

Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.



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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud


Cotu boss Francis Atwoli

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
  • Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.

Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.

Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.

He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.

“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.

“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.

He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.

“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.

Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.



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