Home' Travel News : April 2014 Contents 12 travel news April 2014
April 2014 travel news 13
Our main problems lie with the government’s
false impression that we are the best,
everybody needs us, everybody wants to
come here, and we have no competition.
They also falsely believe that tourism is a
rich industry that is just evading tax.
How wrong they are!
We, as an industry, are now down to 11%
gross profit margin, which even keeping
costs to a bare minimum relates to less
than 1% nett profit in really good times and
huge losses in the bad times. This comes
from the extremely high costs and stress
of doing business in Kenya.
As Liberty International operates in 55
countries in the world we can openly
compare figures, here are a few interesting
1. We have the highest electricity
costs of any office, but we still need
a generator due to 2 or 3-day power
2. We have the second highest Internet
costs, after Cuba.
3. We have the highest security costs
of any office (alarms and guards), as
the government cannot protect us.
4. We have the third highest
5. We have the second highest staff
insurance costs, as NHIF does not
6. We are one of the only offices that
are forced to have private pension
schemes, as NSSF does not function
properly. Even that induces a cost of
RBA to control it.
7. We are the only office that pays rates
and services, but still has to hire a
private garbage disposal company.
8. Interest rates are crippling.
9. We are the only country that I know
of, where the tourism industry gets
zero assistance or understanding
Today, private sector operators primarily
finance the Kenya Tourist Board.
In Tanzania, just as an ad-hoc example, all
tourism vehicles are duty free. A minibus
now costs us +/- Kshs. 3 million and a
Land Cruiser +/- Kshs. 5.5 million. Client’s
demand quality vehicles in Kenya like
anywhere else in the world, and thus we
have to renew the fleet in stages every 3-4
years. Please tell me how one can make
money on this?
Tourism vehicles are put into the same
category as buses and matatus, called
collectively P.S.V.’s (Passenger Service
Vehicle). The industry has been lobbying
for five years now to get our own category
(like everywhere else) of a T.S.V. (Tourism
Service Vehicle). This, however, has fallen
on deaf ears; as usual government is not
interested in tourism.
A few years ago, we were all told to fit
speed governors, we duly complied at
vast expense to ourselves, not just to fit
but also to maintain them. Now, due to the
matatus and buses, tampering with their
speed governors, we have to buy a whole
new set of these, but digital this time. They
cost over Kshs. 40,000/- each and are not
currently available, but we have to fit them
by Monday, 31st March!!!
What do I do on Tuesday, stop all my
vehicles wherever they happen to be
across Kenya and make my tourists walk?
You can count on one hand the fatal
accidents involving tourist vehicles in the
last ten years, and most of these were
unlicensed operators. Tourism operators
did not tamper with their speed governors
and followed the law, why are they now
caught up in this mess?
All this nonsense is because the Police
cannot do their job. They have failed to
enforce speed limits, and failed to enforce
the current speed governors. I just get so
upset when I see un-roadworthy matatus
falling apart at the seams, bellowing black
smoke and breaking every law in the
book. The Police doesn’t harass them, but
harrass law abiding tourism vehicles!!
As a patriotic Kenyan, I appeal to the
Kenyan Government to wake up and
realise they are killing the tourism industry
slowly but surely.
1. We are not competitive in the market.
2. We are ruining our product and
3. It is getting more and more difficult
to do business here.
4. It is getting more and more expensive
to do business here.
5. The security situation needs to be
dealt with, however difficult.
6. Tourism needs some assistance,
incentive and respect from
7. Tourism has such a huge impact on
the economy of our country.
8. Tourism is one our largest earners
of foreign exchange.
9. Tourism is one of the largest
Killing tourism will, sooner or later kill the
I went out and queued for hours to proudly
vote for Uhuru, thinking he understood
tourism. Maybe I was wrong. All he has
done since coming to office, is increase
taxes, reduce services and put huge
hurdles for tourism to try and conquer.
Liberty Africa Safaris
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