Young investors set up desktop travel firms

In Summary
  • They provide customers with expertise and guidance when booking a trip of any kind.
  • Kenya has been ranked one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
East' 80 Adventures and Safaris in Namanga for a group tour to celebrate Mashujaa day.
East' 80 Adventures and Safaris in Namanga for a group tour to celebrate Mashujaa day.

Businesses around tourism sector globally are tipped to flourish after successfully emerging from Covid-19 pandemic. 

 Travel agencies are not an exception, with experts recommending it in top hundred best companies in the world.

Travel agencies provide customers with expertise and guidance when booking a trip of any kind.

As multinational agencies and big local companies  angle themselves to reap big, young people in Kenya are not left behind.

They are opening desktop travel agencies from comfort of their houses, campuses and gym... either as part time ventures or full time preoccupation.  

Edward Mogesa 31 is such young person who has vowed to swim with sharks in this sector.  

 Mogesa, a gym owner saw an opportunity to start a travel agency because of the number of youths who frequent his gym, he believes  that the industry has potential and they are at the tip of the iceberg.

He told the Star that the idea was born during covid when most people lost their jobs and they were forced to come up with ideas to make ends meet.

“My gym buddies and I felt like breaking the monotony of free weights, changing the environment, and embarked on what psychologists would call adventure therapy,''Mogesa said. 

He added that they had a genuine desire to break the monotony, change the environment, and experience rejuvenation from new experiences, places, and cultures.

According to him with Sh 50,000 you can operate the business, one that you don’t even have to own a physical office to keep things moving.

This is not to say that one can only start with a minimum of Sh 50, 000.

 “I wouldn’t be completely honest with you if I  said the venture of domestic tourism is not profitable enough, because it is and we owe it to our beautiful country,” Mogesa said.

He says the local tourism sector has a lot of potential and the local market deserves to enjoy the benefits.

“More players need to come on board and recognize the potential of the local tourism sector in the industry,” he added.

Mogesa is not the only one who has tapped into the opportunity, he represents many youths who have now ventured in this sector with over 400 registered travel and tours agencies in the country.

Most of them ventured into travel agency business after the pandemic that forced many organizations to lay off a number of their employees.

Monica Musungu, founder of Scenery Adventures started her now multimillion travel agency with Sh 5,000 and had to rent cars whenever she had a client.

Kenya has been ranked one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

According to North American destination experts Goway Travel, Kenya has become a sought-after destination by avid globe trotters because of its favorable weather, vast wildlife scenery and warm sandy beaches.

Many tours and travel agencies have emerged, milking the cow, that is tourism.

A lot of them have become lucrative empires making it one of the best investments currently in the country.

The market size of the travel agency sector worldwide reached 290 billion U.S. dollars as of August 2021.

Overall, approximately 196 thousand businesses team building operated in this market, while this industry employed nearly 1.6 million workers.

In Kenya, young people are running to the sector to resolve unemployment puzzle. 

Regionally Kenya is comparatively doing badly in terms of unemployment rates.

According to KNBS data, youth unemployment has sharply risen to 706,859 (5.96 per cent) for those aged 20-34 significantly higher than Tanzania and  Uganda.

This has made them realize that in order to succeed, they have to take their futures in their hands.

Indeed, it has become apparent that with creativity as well as hard work, young people have the ability to create jobs for themselves and others and turn their lives around.

Christine Ouko, owner of Global Business Travel Management is one of the success stories.

“It hasn’t been easy but it is worth it. I get to spend enough time with my children and I am making the kind of money that I could only dream about seven years ago.”

Apart from organising holidays and other trips, her company has ventured into medical tourism which is timely now that hundreds of patients are seeking medical treatment outside the country each year.

Jane Macharia Gituto, managing director at Shian Tours & Travel Ltd located in 5th Ngong Avenue in Nairobi currently makes grosses more than Sh500 million in revenues, has employed 18 people and has two offices in Nairobi and another in Thika.   

Her agency has also been ranked fourth in the annual Top 100 mid-sized survey which ranks the fastest-growing SMEs in Kenya and they plan to expand in other parts of East African region.

This goes to show how much travel and tourism industry has been growing at a rapid pace inviting new businesses and providing a fertile space for the existing travel businesses to thrive.

Industry data suggest that the number of travel bookings through agents has been growing.

On average, travel agencies earn 78 per cent of their revenue through commissions and 22 per cent of revenue through service charges.

Moreover, they also earn revenue by increasing fare prices or earning compensation by achieving sales goals. 

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