Jackson Kimotho, founder, Kenya Outdoors Tour & Travel
Article by Winnie Kabintie
Apart from insecurity, the high cost of living and unemployment are the two most serious problems facing Kenyans currently, with the latter being the biggest challenge majority of citizens have been forced to contend with for the longest time ever.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Unemployment Rate in Kenya increased to 40 percent in 2011 from 12.70 percent in 2006.
A job is therefore a treasure for those in employment, regardless of how much they earn in a month.
However, for one young Kenyan man Jackson Kimotho, taking the risk to quit his job as a casual worker in the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) would turn out to be one of his best lifetime decision.
The 29 year old, who was so fascinated by the tourism industry and driven by the need to be independent decided to venture into entrepreneurship and start his own tour firm, Kenya Outdoor Events.
“Having worked at KWS for several years I got interest in traveling, tour guiding and excursions. I also worked at my sister’s travel firm, Touchwild Tours, and after few months I decided to establish my own firm,” he says.
Kenya Outdoors, as the name suggests offers budget & affordable packages for outdoor events like; road trips/Safaris, team building & excursions like; Camping, hiking, biking and bush parties, which mostly target Kenyan youths & expatriate students & residents. The firm holds an event after every two weeks.
The pocket friendly packages that Kenya Outdoors offers have attracted scores of domestic tourists and as witnessed in a recent safari that the firm had organized over the Mashujaa holiday weekend in Mombasa, it can boast of having a good patronage.
Jackson says that he is happy with the progress so far and although the income is not yet satisfactory, the firm is growing and with time it will be a force to reckon with. He maintains that his biggest inspiration is seeing his clients satisfied, happy and addicted to the events.
“Seeing clients enjoy my events, becoming addicted to them and asking for more outdoor events is so encouraging and also the fact that these events have created a big Kenya Outdoors family, which apart from having fun also comes together for charity. We actually visit children homes monthly.”
Asked about the most memeorable event he has hosted this year, Jackson gives it to a camp he hosted in Crayfish campsites in Naivasha over valentines.
“I had over 80 clients and the package had overnight live performance by the sensational Kidum and we also visited the new build Hot water SPA at Olkaria Geothermal plant. The responses after the events were overwhelming”.
MARKETING EVENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Apart from referrals from existing clients, Jackson says that his biggest marketing tool has been social media, specifically Facebook, where he updates on upcoming events on the Kenya Outdoors Tours And travel fan page, which has over 20 thousand fans.
He also uses the popular WhatsApp messenger to send personal invitations to existing clients and friends.
CAMPING OVER JAMHURI WEEKEND
Kenya Outdoor Events has organized for a three days camp over the Jamhuri weekend which kicks off tomorrow, at Crater Lake & Game Sanctuary in Naivasha. Jackson also intimates that he is planning a mega end of year party for the Kenya outdoors family, which will most likely be a Bush party.
He advises young people that they can turn their hobbies into a career/business.
“All you need is creativity and hard work. I started Kenya Outdoor Events with zero capital and now it pays my bills and I can see it grow. You can also make it.”
Kenya Outdoor Events is now three years old now and Jackson is optimistic that the firm will in the near future be the best leading ‘budget’ safari company in Kenya.