Hoteliers and boda boda operators reported roaring business during day one of the ongoing Devolution Conference in Naivasha.
Hoteliers in particular cashed in on raised accommodation fees, with some charging three times the normal rates as hundreds of delegates flocked the town.
A single room, which ordinarily goes for Sh1,000 in Naivasha town, rose to Sh3,000. Despite the high rates, there was scarcity of rooms in the town’s hotels.
Some of those stranded spent the night in cars or were forced to share beds if only to find a place to rest.
Restaurants in the town had a busy day serving new clients as delegates arrived for the three-day conference.
The Council of Governors had estimated about 6,000 delegates would attend. But by yesterday, over 4,800 delegates had registered for the conference. This number excluded security officers who had been deployed to the venue and Naivasha town.
High-end hotels such as Enashipai, Great Rift Valley Lodge, Sopa Lodge and others were fully booked by governors and other dignitaries.
Boda boda operators said they were making a killing from ferrying delegates from various points of the town to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) training institute, after police had barricaded roads for motor vehicles to the venue to avoid traffic snarl-ups and for security reasons.
“I make about Sh1,000 on an ordinary day, but from yesterday I have been making over sh2,000 a day, after deducting my expenses; it was a good day,” said one rider who has been been in the business for three years.