“LARSENS CAMP: CRISIS IN KENYA’S ELEPHANT PARADISE Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Rohan Patel was looking at the building site outside the window of his third-floor office in Westlands, the upmarket business district of Nairobi, Kenya. Although the building work would be completed in several weeks' time, it had taken a total of 18 months to complete and was seriously behind schedule. In early 2009, time was definitely cash Grenadier Limited, for Rohan's family company. The building was to be the introduction of a chain of modern five star hotels catering to the needs of business travelers in urban centers in Africa.The chain would be the latest addition to Grenadier's portfolio. Rohan hoped it'd not be plagued by the occupancy issues that Larsens Camp was experiencing - one of the three properties that made up Wilderness Lodges, the company's other high-end hospitality business. The tourist trade in Kenya was hit by the double whammy of political violence followed international downturn and by the credit crunch, both of which had been nothing short of catastrophic for the hospitality company.

The tourism disaster, in turn, resulted in a renewal of public debate around the sustainable management of Kenya's natural resources. Some operators saw the opportunity to push for a relaxation of existing rules for establishing resorts and hotels in and around nature reserves, which would create new jobs and raise tax revenues for the local and state councils. Yet, nature preservationists and environmental NGOs needed to shield the animal sanctuaries and the local communities that often lost their ancestors' lands to the nature reserves without getting much in return. In addition to taking the risk of stepping on the toes of established players and getting the new enterprise off the ground, Rohan needed to undertake these other challenges could the group restore occupancy rates at Larsens Camp and reconstruct a value proposition for tourists? What was the best means to restructure the business to ensure fiscal stability? How could it find the appropriate balance between its company and the surroundings, thus ensuring the future of its resorts? Learning objectives: The case discusses various problems including social responsibility in the context of a hospitality business in Kenya's Samburu Nature Reserve; the tradition of the Indian diaspora in East Africa and its business behavior and modus operandi; the evolution of a third-generation family affiliate who returns from Europe to connect the family business; and sustainability organization of the family's sprawling business empire. The case also supplies an original setting for the discussion of stakeholder direction (the bush).

PUBLICATION DATE: December 31, 2009 PRODUCT #: IMD498-PDF-ENG

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