Since I started Incredible Kenya Adventures in 2016, many have asked me – “How to start a tours and travel company in Kenya”.
I decided to do a well-detailed article on the same so you’re in the right place if you want to start tours and travel company.
I like giving myself as an example, the idea to start a travel company came way back in 2015 one year after my first employment.
It was hard to understand why I was making so much money for someone while I could only get a fraction of it. I wanted it all.
Being an overthinker, this idea to start my travel company was born and I started planning an exit plan.
Motivational speakers will preach to you how you should just jump in but you got to have a plan, my friend.
Yes, take risks but calculated ones, otherwise you may find yourself regretting some decisions. Think then act but don’t act then start thinking. Are we together up to this point?
I took one whole year to plan and in 2016 I registered my tours and travel Company; I was still employed.
For a start business was good and by the end of 2016, I was making more than my salary.
Come 2017, an election year. I wanted to quit that January but something told me to wait until the elections were over.
It is in that February up to date am yet to get such a lucrative deal. It is at this moment I was confident now it was time to move.
But I decided to wait until after the elections anyway (To be continued).
Without much ado, this is how to start a tours and Travel company.
#How to start a tours and travel company in Kenya
Do you have an E-Citizen account? If not Open one here then proceeds to log in. Once in the portal click on Business registration Service.
Then head to Application and the first step on how to start a tours and Travel Company in Kenya will be to search for a business name.
You should have at least three names that suit your business and name them according to priority. If the first one is not available then the second name will be selected and vice versa.
The Process is self-explanatory all you have to do is follow the steps guided in your E-Citizen until completion.
How to choose a Name for your Tours and Travel Company.
While choosing a name for my tours and travel Company I did not have much guidance and I will use the name as a case study.
The official name is Incredible Kenya Adventures Tours and Travel Ltd.
What is wrong with the name? Here are some points to note when choosing a business name.
Length: – See how long the name is, it rarely fits in checkbooks, EFT bank slips Etc. It reached a point I had to talk to my bank to shorten the name but they told me.
The name should appear as it is in the certificate of Incorporation. I went ahead to shorten it anyway to Incredible Kenya Adventures Ltd. Though still long, it is better. NB// Certificate of Incorporation still remains the original long Name.
Quirky: – Let your name stand out, a local unique name would sound more engrossing than the cliché ones. For example, Nzou Adventures sounds unique. Nzou is Elephant in my Local language. See how short and to the point is the name.
Two Letter Word: – A Business with one or two names will make it easy for you as we have seen the challenges above with a long name.
Besides everything, the name will be easy to remember- making it easy for marketing purposes. A name a small kid can memorize is always a to-go business name.
Avoid using your name: – As much as it may give a personal touch, the moment you give your company your name, that name becomes a corporate asset.
This can lead to all sorts of legal disputes if you encounter another company that had a similar idea, or if you eventually bring on investors. Giving your tour firm your name is also a bit cliché.
Have a running and Operational Website.
As you wait for your certificate of incorporation, it is time to invest in a good website. I had Intelix Solutions design mine.
They are good at what they do and affordable at the same time. They specialize in Tours and Travel websites.
You will have a good website, yes, but you will need SEO optimization, you will need to rank in google as much as your domain rating will be 1 out of a possible 100.
My team and I can help you build from scratch. Tours and travel business is all about online presence as much as you may have walk-ins in your office.
Get your name out there (online) and attract the right target market at reasonable prices.
Open a Bank Account.
Once the Incorporation certificate is out you will apply for a Business KRA PIN and once you have everything in place this is the time to open a business account at the bank of your choice.
You will need to open at least two bank accounts as follows-:
Kenya shillings account: – For domestic and outbound tourists
US Dollars Account: – For International tourists (Inbounds)
The bank will let you know all the requirements needed of which most of it you will have at your disposal.
Tourism License application.
Once you’re through with bank opening the next step is to look for a physical office so as to be able to apply for TRA License since it is a requirement.
I would like to differ though, most of the successful businesses started small and jumped straight to an executive office as the Tourism Regulations Authority Require, I find it a tall order.
What if I want my business to be online? (Virtual)? The person who was making these regulations has he or she ever started a business before to know what it is like to have an office before the first sale.
Tourism License Requirements
Tours and travel is in CLASS ‘C’ ENTERPRISES- (TOUR OPERATORS)
- Duly filled application (form 1) check www. tourism authority.go.ke
- Copy of lease agreement/ title deed of premises- They will visit your office to make sure it exists
- Certificate of registration or incorporation of a company (new applicants).
- Memorandum and Articles of Association or CR 12 (new applicants)
- Work/ entry permit for non-Kenyans involved in the business and copies of affidavit for non-resident director(s)
- Foreign-owned companies: asset base of Ksh. 10M or USD100,000
- Proof of ownership of vehicle or letter of the contract of hire in the case of tour operators and tourist service vehicle hire.
- Vehicle inspection report if the company has vehicles
- Evidence of motor vehicle insurance cover
- Appointment letter, CV, certified copy of a professional certificate
- Summary of skilled and unskilled staff
12. Copy of itinerary in case of tour operators
- Application fee of Ksh. 1000 for new applicants AND a License fee of … payable to
- Account Name: Tourism Regulatory Authority
- Account No.: 1178921034
- KCB Bank: University Way Branch
What to note
- Late payments for all licenses attract a penalty of 10% of the applicable license
- fee for every month delayed.
- All payments MUST be made by cash deposit into the above account
- If a summary of skilled and unskilled staff has a driver(s), then the driver(s)
- must be licensed by TRA. Provide copies of their TRA licenses during application and renewal.
- If a tour operator contracts or hires vehicles from a third party, the subcontracted company must have a TRA license, i.e. the contract letter must be from a licensed company by TRA
Do I need to have Vehicles when starting a Tours and Travel Company?
You don’t have to buy vehicles as you can always hire from Incredible Kenya Adventures Ltd and other reliable tour companies.
Familiarize yourself with the industry first then you can think of purchasing Tour Vans, Land Cruisers, or Tour Buses.
How do I write the Tour Itineraries?
You don’t have to since that is where this blog comes in. My team and I will curate SEO Optimized and creative Itineraries with costing for your Website.
We can do a catchy profile, SEO Optimized Itineraries, Write Blogs for your website, manage all your social media accounts and even help in set them all at affordable prices.
How much do I need to Start a Tour Company in Kenya?
This question is equivocal, this is why. Someone might decide to forgo a website and survive only with social media. I have seen several do that and succeed.
However, that is not the best approach, to do this business “legally right” you will need a minimum capital of around Kes200,000 –
How do tours and travel companies in Kenya make money?
There are several methods how to earn money but the primary way is through commissions.