I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my warmest gratitude to you.
A couple years ago, our industry was in deep trouble.
Travel and tourism came to an abrupt stop worldwide due to the pandemic. Suddenly, our wonderful Ultimate Kilimanjaro staff, both abroad and domestic, were without income.
Many Kilimanjaro operators shut down completely.
Running group climbs with just a few participants isn’t financially viable. Volume is needed to make the numbers work. So most companies cancelled every trip to protect themselves, regardless of whether or not their clients wanted to proceed.
But I made the decision to continue running our scheduled climbs, even at a loss.
As long as our clients were willing to come, we would guide them. Many postponed their trips, as expected. We were used to running group climbs with 12+ participants. Now we were running them with 1-4 people.
As a result, we lost money on many of those trips.
WHY I DIDN’T CANCEL EVERY TRIP LIKE MOST OPERATORS
1) I didn’t want to force a client to cancel a scheduled trip.
For some companies it’s regular practice to cancel your climb if they don’t have “enough” participants. We’ve never done that. When a client makes a booking, Ultimate Kilimanjaro has made a promise to lead him or her on the mountain. Our canceling a climb would be like breaking a promise.
People put a lot of time, energy and money to prepare for their trips. I didn’t want to postpone a climb when the client is eager to proceed. And with new standard operating procedures in place, we were able to keep our clients reasonably safe from Covid.
2) I wanted to keep our crews working.
Unlike other countries, Tanzanians did not receive financial support from their government. It was worth it for me take a personal loss in order to keep our hardworking staff on the mountain.
When the Tanzanian tourism board later reported the total number of tourists that visited Kilimanjaro, I found out that Ultimate Kilimanjaro had served the most clients during the pandemic.
I was very proud to hear this.
Even though it didn’t make financial sense, it helped our guides, porters and their families, who all depended on me and my company. It’s literally thousands of people. They’re here for me during the good times, so I’m here for them during the bad times.
Fortunately, the bad times didn’t last that long.
We are so grateful for a successful 2022 season. Though we’ve not recovered 100%, the future is bright. The sun is shining. Our hiking legs are underneath us again. And step by step (“pole pole”), I know we’ll make it back to the top.
If you’ve already climbed with us – thank you.
While many of our clients say that they couldn’t have made it without our guides and porters, we know it goes both ways.
WE couldn’t have made it without YOU.
If you haven’t climbed with us yet – we’re ready.
There’s never been a better time to climb Kilimanjaro. Our crews are looking forward to serving you when your time comes.
All the best,