Midweek Interview with Richard Ruskin, managing director, African Travel Specialists

Midweek Interview with Richard Ruskin, managing director, African Travel Specialists
By admin


The challenge for the industry is… understanding that professionalism, and top service is always more important than price, and that you need to constantly train staff.

The things I like about my job are… I spend 5 months each year in Africa guiding and exploring new areas, lodges and experiences and the rest of the time selling the most exciting place in the World – Africa.

And the frustrations… Trying to explain to agents & clients the difference in itineraries from other companies overseas that are completely different in quality, position of lodges, with awful guides AND at the wrong time of the year AND then having them going with the cheaper quote and ending up having a terrible time – they then tell all their friends how awful Africa is!

If I didn’t work in travel I would be a… cheetah researcher.

Qantas or Virgin? Qantas (sorry John).

My proudest moment was… Apart from my family, being made a fully- fledged Masai elder in Kenya at one of the village we support – exceptionally moving and special.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was… scratch on the tent of a couple on my safari in the middle of the night making lion sounds – it was hilarious to hear them whispering to each other “there’s a a a a lion out there”.

I try to relax by… karate training which is what has kept me sane for the last 38 years.

The last time I feared for my life… Charged by two lionesses on foot from a distance of 2 metres.

If I can, I always try to avoid… negative people.

I really wish I had… more time to do everything I want to do in a day.

The best advice I’ve ever received was… Always do the right thing by people.

I don’t understand why… there are so many unhappy and negative people in our Industry when it is the most exciting in the world.

My greatest weakness is… Intolerance to negativity and people who put up hurdles and give all the reasons why they can't do something.

And my greatest strength… Is that I value people and do not judge them on wealth or what car they drive.

If I was prime minister I would… support business to grow and give incentives for companies to employ more people – which is the opposite of what is happening at the moment.

If I won $1 million on the lottery I would… Give it to the charity that I am a director of which takes the kids out of Kibera Slum in Kenya and give them an education and a future.

If I could be someone else for one day I would be… Richard Branson.

I’ve always wanted to travel to…. Republic of Congo.

My favourite holiday was…. AFRICA.

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