TOUR INDUSTRY PIONEER - WRITER, PUBLISHER,
PHOTOGRAPHER, HOTELIER AND ADMINISTRATOR
- - I knew the Late Dennis Lakin
for many years as we were colleagues within the tourist industry.
Wearing different hat
but fighting for the same cause we often compared notes on state of
the industry, the problems and possible solutions.
As a tour operator, on
many occasions, I had to negotiate with Dennis in order to get
favourable rates, and at all times received a welcome, and a joke.
He used to make cynical
but useful criticisms and observations of the incidents and
catastrophes, which often behest us in the course of our daily
routine, but at the same time I found him to be a capable
I realised very soon
that Dennis had considerable inner strength, and was a shrewd judge of
the character of his fellow humans.
He used to say that
there was an aura or energy which would be discerned around people,
and because of this sixth sense his, he was very invariably able to
distinguish the sincerely people from the rest.
I always hoped that he
saw me as such a person.
Certainly, I found him
to be the most sincere and straight forward in his dealings with me,
where he was also a man of his word.
Dennis knew the old in
Kenya, the Pre-independence Era, where he played his role in the
It was interesting to
note that he had many friends amongst Kenyans of all tribes, and even
for quite a time had a business associate who hailed from the area in
which he had served as a District Officer.
So I can say that the
friendship of Dennis extended beyond all boundaries and embraced
It was rather not race,
colour, nor money that brought about relationships with him, rather
respect and dignity which he gave, and which he received.
He had great tales of
the days of yore, and was a veritable mine of information on many of
the facets of Kenya.
Unlike many of us his
time on earth touched quite a few people to leave an indelible imprint
of his passing, and accordingly some of us are richer for having known
Dennis Lakin will not be
forgotten by many of us in the industry.
Although, sadly, he has
left us, he has left a firm imprint within KATO in the form of two
KATO manuals of which he was the editor, and a promotional film on
Kenya done for KATO by Dennis Lakin.
The later has been seen
in the four corners of the world and has created far reaching waves,
in highlighting the image of this republic.
On the other hands the
two successive manuals have taken the name of Kenya and the extension
KATO into the reservation offices of travel agents world wide.
The prestige of these
authoritative manuals will be a fitting memorial to Dennis a dedicated
author, who was a stickler for good English usage.
For all I know right now
his spirit may be monitoring me and correcting my imperfect English.
Incidentally, the bulk
of photos used in these manuals came from the personal collection of
We knew him as a Writer
and Publisher, and also a Hotelier.
In the latter category,
he wore various hats.
We knew him at Maralal
Safari Lodge where he was extremely versatile coming up with a variety
of promotions to popularize this unique establishment.
But of course, these
skills were honed in those days when he was one of the key people in
the management of the Serena Hotel Group at the time of their initial
Prestige Hotels was his
last involvement where once more he was involved in the operation of
the young hotel group and again he applied his vision and set his mark
within the Industry.
For a while he sat on an
ad hoc basis on the marketing and public relations sub-committee of
KATO where his contributions were very well received, and highly
The Executive Committee,
The Staff of the KATO Secretariat, and the entire membership will miss
the presence of Dennis as a long serving member of the tourist
industry, where his contributions have left a permanent record of his
He did not waste his
Maj. (Rtd.) C.D. Walker - Vice Chairman - KATO.