KQ now on right flight path but more support needed at JKIA hub.

Ethiopian has just a announced 10 new destination in six months . This is good stuff and I am very happy for our northern neighbour Ethiopia. I am sure many of us will be quick to condemn KQ. Please don’t.

KQ is now in safe pair of hands, so what next?

Big up to our govermrnet for coming to help KQ after a decade of bad governance. If our national carrier KQ is to do well then more support is needed at Operational level and they MUST be treated as the favourite airline at our JKIA hub. If you study Ethiopian , they’ve done well no doubt but the amount of support they get in a virtually closed aviation industry in Ethiopia cannot be compared to KQ. Aviation business is cut throat . I am afraid KQ does not seem to enjoy such preferential treatment. If we add the operational hiccups at our main hub then it just takes way the only major edge they would have had over the competition.

KQ team is more than ready to launch new routes that make commercial sense but they will need full support to acquire new planes.

KQ has been in clean up mode and addressing it’s huge debt portfolio which has now been sorted out. Next is to help them acquire new planes for new routes and also regain its lost market share on the African continent .

The constant litigation and never ending CBA wars is something that has constantly distracted our national carrier. Labour issues is something that never bedevil Ethiopian. We may be more capitalistic in nature but many a times we go overboard to the point of self cannibalizing.

KQ has done very well in the past and I believe we can do it again more so when someone like Michael Joseph is at the helm as chair and Sebastian as the CEO.

Basic support at JKIA must be there if we ever expect them to match Ethiopian. KQ despite all the challenges they fly in the largest number of visitors to Kenya. It is in our best interest that we have a working airline .

Please note I am NOT taking anything away from Ethiopian . They have done really well for themselves.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi
Chairman
Kenya Tourism Federation.

Is It About Time EAC was expanded in light of TZ’s reluctance

It is all common knowledge that our southern neighbour TZ has not failed to show disdain for Kenya . They are our biggest trading partner and in my opinion that has really got into their heads but again the gap is closing and is closing pretty first . TZ is more committed to SADC and they feel more South African. Let’s not pretend that it is all loving and kiss kiss. Their current leadership has not helped matters.

Now what about this 👇👇👇

Get on board Ethiopia our northern neighbour who is very keen and respects Kenya. They value our relationship. Then extend an invite to Somalia which is rebuilding . There are very many opportunities there. While we sacrifice lives to keep Somalia safe , Turkey is busy picking the cherries in rebuilding Somalia. Extend an invite to DRC. Huge country with loads of minerals . Help them run a better country and they also speak a version of Kiswahili and we can relate easily. Extend another invite to Sudan , a big buyer of Kenyan tea and Bingo we have a new EAC minus TZ. Bringing on board Sudan may help stabilise South Sudan. Finally we will need a new capital for the new willing nations and Kisumu becomes the new Arusha . It is central and it becomes the capital of the great lakes region. They have really taken the benefits of providing EAC capital for granted. Serious food for thought .

An expanded EAC can then be renamed Eastern Africa Cooperating Countries akin to the GCC Gulf Cooperating Countries.

Living under fear of being divorced leads to an abusive relationship . We can then engage our neighbours as SADC.

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi

Malindi Tourism Woes , history & way forward

#WhyILoveKenya

Malindi Tourism Woes.

I am sure many of you have seen comments by Billionaire Flavio Briatore regarding the state of Tourism in Malindi . He even went ahead to describe Malindi as stinky not that Mombasa is any better , well nothing is further from the truth and that should worry Kilifi County , a county that is close to my heart as my better half comes from here.

My good friend HE Governor Kingi unveiled his new cabinet and they are all men and women of real substance. I have No doubt they have what it takes to turn around the fortunes of Kilifi through tourism. Majority are people who are known to me personally and we are on first name basis. Please let us clean the town and get the basics out of the way. I believe you can do that and I will not belabour on this.

So what ails Malindi ?

1. Malindi was overly dependet on one source market , The Italian market . When Italians for any reason avoid Malindi then both Malindi & Watamu got affected. It’s high time Malindi Watamu including Kilifi started to target other source markets. We have investors like Roberto Marini of Ocean Beach Resort who is key in Domestic & Regional market.

2. The collapse of Imperial bank and later Chase bank hammered the last nail on struggling Malindi tourism. The collapse of these two rogue banks played a major role to send Malindi’s Tourism to ICU. This is one silent fact that no one talks about , it is water under the bridge but it did huge damage of course coupled with the non essential travel advisory that last lasted close to 2 years.

Malindi was host to many retirees and pensioners from Italy who will spend entire winter October to April every year in this coastal town. With the attractive close to obscene interest rates many opted to deposit their life savings in these two banks and then live off interest little did they know that they were being fattened for slaughter. With no source of income many opted to fly back home.

These long stayers contributed heavily to the success of Malindi Watamus tourism and their departure is being felt to date.

3. The media constant reporting moreso between 2005 until recently Malindi as Mafia town. It is wrong to tag any place in such a negative manner. It is individuals who choose to be thugs and act Mafia not an entire destination. It is obvious that no investor will be keen to put his money in such a destination.

Iti s high time the narrative is changed and it is already changing and I urge our media to help Malindi do that.

4. Lack of easy acess to Malindi . Our national carrier pulled out of Malindi later on JamboJet their sister low cost carrier stepped in . They took long to stabilise and we hope tbey continue to grow the frequencies. I am happy to note the immediate impact of Silverstone Airlines and we look forward to an even better frequency.

One thing that Governor Kingi should do is sleep, dream and walk is constant push to get the Kilifi airport runway extended. I will urge Governor Kingi to push this agenda strongly. He may not agree with national goverment on matters politics but business cuts across both divide.

To national goverment you may have issues with both Malindi and even Mombasa counties but mandate of national goverment must be delivered . Do not drag your foot to get projects done due to such differences . If you can do a brand new big airport in Isiolo why do you find it such a hercules task to extend a simple runway to allow bigger aircrafts to land in Malindi. We have very many direct Italian charters all waiting. We even have Ethiopian airlines who are more than willing to fly direct to Malindi. Sort out the squatters mess and extend the runway . I remind national goverment that business cuts across the divide. If anything how do you reach out to an area that feel disenfranchised economically , it’s simple fix the gaps .

We have witnessed the same where national classified roads in the heart of Mombasa taking ages to get fixed. Digo Road is only receiving attention now after many months of neglect. Can you imagine leaving Uhuru Highway in Nbi with potholes Why would you allow that on Kenyatta Avenue Digo Road through to Nyerere to Likoni ferry . This is the mandate of National goverment , Mombasa is our 2nd city. Please give her it’s due status.

Way Forward .

1. My Dear Bro Governor Kingi get the team to get down to work . Malindi is small and manageable . Make it clean and envy of many . Let no investor run away because of garbage. Let Briatore’s comment fire you and your team to get things fixed. Before he departs show him what you plan to do. I know you are known to him personally . Flavio is the Italian version of Richard Branson . We need him on our side.

2. To national goverment we now demand the extension of Malindi Airport runway without any further delay. Why would a government take two decades to carry out such a basic task ?

3. To Kilifi County , Italians LOVE Malindi Watamu . Reach out to them . Welcome them back. Encourage the pensioners and retirees to come back . Malaysia has done it under their programme dubbed ” Malaysia My 2nd Home “. The pensioners will attract their grown up children and relatives to chose Malindi. Reach out to many other western countries even in the Scandinavia countries to choose Malindi Watamu.

Choosing to stay in a villa is a personal choice and criminalizing it we must stop. The constant raids by authorities should not be allowed. What we should be doing is to streamline and regulate the villas. Globally we now have AirBnb will the authorities criminalise that ?

4. To Tourism players, please wake up . Lamenting on low levels of business while choosing to do nothing you’ll not move an inch. Save for 2 or 3 hotels the rest make no efforts to attend fairs both local regional & International. Learn from Diani who go to regional fair as Destination Diani . National & County goverments will fix the enablers the rest is for you to walk the last mile.

Malindi Watamu , Kilifi and yes Vipingo are world class destination. The Destination maybe down but certainly not out.

As always I choose to remain an optimist and may Malindi rise again like the proverbial bird Phoenix.

Mohammed Hersi

Chairman

Kenya Tourism Federation

5 Reasons Why Balala ought to be retained as CS Tourism

#WhyILoveKenya

5 Reasons Why CS Balala should continue as CS Tourism. I am writing this in my personal capacity as a Tourism player.

First Things First .

I don’t hold brief for Hon Balala and I am not expecting anything in return. I also know many of you believe that I am also fit to be CS Tourism . No doubt about that but we can only have one CS . Najib is the right man for the job . I am happy to continue to play my role in Private sector.

1. He is on first name basis with all the key world leading tour operators , locally great connection with tourism players. In September he was elected Chairman UNWTO Africa commission .This is building on existing blocks.

2 . Excellent contacts with all the Diplomatic circles. To be on first name basis with key Ambassdors at a personal level is not something you develop overnight. These things take time.

3. Excellent PR & Networking skills. As Tourism CS he has maintained fantastic relationship with Media Kenya and International press. Networking & PR is far deeper than just a photo opportunity . Our business is SHOWBIZ. If you expect a CS Tourism to avoid the media then you are mistaken.

4. He has delivered on key areas :

$Charter resumption to Msa.
$Open skies .
$lobbying for Visa on arrival , next is park fees for Africans to be reviewed downwards.
$Extra funding to KTB.
$Lobbied hard to get the notorious and punishing Non Essential travel advisories on Kenya Coast lifted. $Attends and lobbies at main expos and road shows promoting Kenya .
$Tourist arrivals are now quite close to 2007 figures. $Pushed hard to get the Cruiseship terminal underway. It is now 40% done just last week he made a plea for the work to be speeded up.
$Tembea Kenya campaign
$Halal Tourism promo as a new segment
$Helped to get the Vat on tours rescinded.

5. Passion for the industry . He has taken to the skies to Sky Dive. Hiked Mount Kenya to promote Mountaineering. Promoted Turkana as cradle of mankind .Next on his agenda is The Great Rift & Western Kenya

Simply put he is Plug & Play CS. Not someone who is coming to learn the ropes. Learning the ropes means wasting 3 years. We just don’t have that time .

Bottom line it is the prerogative of His Excellency The President but at least I have done my bit

As always I choose to remain an optimist

Mohammed Hersi

Secession Talk, my dear Kenyans in Nyanza & Western . Some candor may help.

#WhyILoveKenya Secession talk due to alleged marginalization and mainly in Nyanza and Western Kenya. I am sure some candor will help. What will North Eastern, good Part of Ukambani say where even nature has marginalised them ?

If it is historical injustice no place has suffered like the 5 counties of Garisaa. Wajir. Mandera . Marsabit & Isiolo . I recall posting my own challanges growing up in Marsabit. I had the privilege to drive around the gulf in Lake Victoria which is mainly the 10% or so of our share of Lake Victoria. 6 permanent rivers flowing into the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world. Come to North Eastern and Ukambani even good parts of Muranga where there are no rivers. Arid and semi arid . The road network as shown in the images are A1 and I will tell you for free go drive from Makutano via Muranga to Nyeri it’s terrible. I saw the best road network in Kisumu Siaya and Homa Bay , pictures don’t lie. North Eastern Garisaa to Mandera are now being promised but do you see them lament? They make the best entrepreneurs and hustlers.

The Mbita causeway that was blocking fish and water from the main Lake Victoria forcing our people to go fish in Uganda will now be a thing of the past . Thanks to the beautiful bridge and once again fish can easily breed in the gulf area.. Kisumu International Airport, tell me how many other counties have International airports.? The county fathers should be inviting investors to grow fruits and horticulture for export . Kisumu International airport is dead from 8pm when we should be exporting fresh produce as cargo. Well educated and warm people .

I spent 7 days with locals in Kisumu , Luanda K’otieno, Asembo Bay, Mbita , Rusinga all the way on Mfangano . Everyone I met was warm and nice to me . They only need to be shown direction and empower them . Opportunities galore in that region . Maybe you don’t appreciate what you got because you are used to it but I will tell you for free you have NOT been marginalised. It is all in the mind. You may not necessarily agree with me but it is only fair I tell you what gold mine you are sitting on. Kisumu alone has 35 banks represented out of the 42 banks in Kenya and over 25 Universities and colleges

This talk of secession is nothing but hot air , it is not a walk in the park to secede go ask Eritrea 35 years wait or even South Sudan 40 + years wait then a mess , Somaliland have been chasing for recognition 20+ years .

Please go make your counties work . We should be fighting for more funds to the counties but we must also stand up to confront the waste in the counties with the same energy we fight the national goverment.

Let us debate and As always I choose to remain an optimist Mohammed Hersi

Rwanda Has Its Own Road Map To Democracy, Leave them alone

Rwanda has it’s own road map to democracy. Leave them alone.

Rwanda held elections on 4th August and HE Paul Kagame won and he starts another term of 7 years. This is a man I have met on 3 occasions courtesy of my hospitality role . I have also personally taken alot of interest to read more about Rwanda while I have also been to this beautiful country on numerous occasions.

Many have accused PK of hanging onto leadership and refusing to go. If only you take time to read and understand about the tragedy of genocide only then will you empathise and appreciate that Rwanda is a very special case. Many also dont know that there have been many attacks against the minority Tutsis over the past 100 years but of course the 1994 was the worst one where even moderate Hutus were not spared.

In Kenya during PEV of 2007 1300 people died and we felt the pain. In Rwanda 1,000,000 people were massacred in under 100 days. When Rwanda was crying for help the western world could not even locate Rwanda on the world map let alone send help. The UN were busy pussy footing to do anything. On the hand OAU then was a useless body.

Well one man led a ragtag army under RPF and brought to a stop the genocide that was not showing any signs of slowing down. This is a man who chose not to rush to be President, he even went ahead to work with people who supported the genocide for the sake of forgiveness and moving on. Rwanda showed the world that if it was to jail everyone involved it meant more than half the population will be behind bars hence Gachacha court came into being. This is only unique to Rwanda. The rest as they say is history.

I am not here to enumerate the achievement of PK, I have done that on many other occasions.

I am here to give my own simple analysis why PK opted on a further term of 7 years. It means that in 2017 anyone who was born in 1994 during the genocide is now 23. If you were 10 at that time you would be 33 today. In 2024 God willing anyone who was 10 at that time would be turning 40.

Rwanda has taken a policy NOT to identify it’s people according to tribe but as Rwandans . It is the intention of PK that by the time he is handing over the majority of the population will be post genocide and they see themselves as Rwandans. Dont rule out a post genocide citizen taking over from PK .

Now why would anyone have an issue with that time table?

Why are they so pained yet they are not even Rwandans?

It is laughable when some of my fellow Kenyans are asking PK to exit to support democracy.

Rwanda should be left to heal in its own way . Rwanda should be left to pursue it’s own form of democracy.

If the world is itching to help there are many places that need serious help . We NEVER helped Rwanda when they needed help and it is an insult for anyone to try to patronize them on what to do .

PK is focused on a united Rwanda and anyone questioning that can as well go hang .

As always I choose to remain an optimist

As you amass ill gotten wealth, you can only eat from one plate and sleep on only one bed.

Politics in Kenya has become a surest way to make quick wealth through government contracts and deals. Some of those who have tasted the same will not hesitate to deal with you if you ever stood in their way.

People you can’t even tell what they do for a living? Living large like there is no tommorow. Many a times It is not even the contenders it is the sidekicks who turn to be the hardliners who can’t just imagine staying in the “cold ” for five years so to speak.

Firstly not all businessmen doing business with goverment are crooks but let’s also be honest with ourselves 80% of the time it’s deal cutting at both national & county goverment.

It is only in Kenya we have billionaires who have invented nothing . A billion shillings these days is nothing but that is $10Million , that is alot of money . As you amass the dirty wealth allow me to tell you the following:

1. It has been proven that beyond a certain point the quality of life can never get any better.

2. Irrespective of how much you’ve grabbed you can only drive one car.

3. You can only sleep in one house.

4. You can only sleep in one room

5. You can only sleep on one bed.

6. You can only eat from one plate and due to stress you have been asked to avoid many dishes.

7. You can only travel to one destination on holiday at one time.

The list can go on and on If the wealth that was acquired was dirty or even spilled blood then it comes back to haunt your family. Don’t think you’ve been bewitched when your daughter the one you loved most eloped with a ” useless ” boy or your son became a junkie. Look around us you’ll see very many examples of people who were walking terror in them days and this is all about Karma , as you wrong the defenceless nature will revenge for them.

You steal money meant for free primary education. You don’t spare ARV funds while you take exotic holidays, the list can go on and on. It is said karma has no deadline.

Life is too short to be ruthless killing and maiming .

The first 20 years you struggle in school.

The next 20 years finish university, get a job or simply hustle then marry & start a family .

The next 20 years educate your children & help them through University. If you are lucky to reach 60 years .

Anyone above that is on bonus time. Folks life is too short to be ruthless killing others and walking like you have done nothing. Well when nothing works for you dont look any further. “Malipo ni hapa hapa duniani mwanzo” you’ll taste judgment first right here on earth while full judgement awaits you.

Choice is yours mweawhile as always I choose to remain an optimist in that evil shall not reign forever. Good shall overcome evil.

@mohammedhersi