Grit, a mere three word, used everywhere, from motivational videos to fitness ads and ted talks but in this case, you’ll only make false assumptions if you choose to believe it’s an overused word expolited by businesses. Sometimes, when a majority speaks, they are not always the sheep, but the leaders who lead the flock. And one such is the CEO of Lama Tours, Mr. Kulwant Singh. With the grit to follow his dreams and the grit to break through concrete walls that had headlines written in bold, “This is not for you”, he not only broke through these walls but also became one of the most acclaimed businessman in the field of Travel and Tourism. To his humility, he credits most of his success to the liberal opportunities of the UAE, especially Dubai for a man or woman of dreams, but a conducive space without the mind to lead a vision is a waste of that space.
So our CEO, turned the conducive space Dubai allowed, and married it with his interest in growing a hollistic travel and tourism company which unlike others would provide overall services starting from, booking tickets, arranging for visas to personalised one on one tours to the tourists. And to his advantage, Dubai at that point of time, when he started with Lama Tours in 1997, there weren’t many competitions or Tour operators in Dubai, and the Government wanted to expand its Travel and Tourism sector at a larger scale which allowed him to dive into the business and turn his dream to reality.
However, life hasn’t been a peaceful walk by the riverside for him either. It cannot be unless you’re born with a gold spoon or with the genius of Einstein whose life too hadn’t been easy. Like many businesses and stories of successful businessmen, Mr. Kulwant Singh too had to start small and build it over the years, re-imagining the business againt and again to only grow it. At that point in the late 90’s, banks too were skeptical in investing in start-ups because the industry was at a nacent stage. Yet with grit and passion combined, he built his small scale company to becoming one of the best companies in the industry in UAE, with approximately a gross income of about Dh300 million turnover with a team of 700 professionals, 3,500 vehicles, four desert camps, two cruise vessels, two yachts and a vast tourism and transport network to serve customers across the UAE and the world.
Mr. Kulwant Singh today has clienteles from across fields, and some big names from the Bollywood film industry. One of their most famous being Sharukh Khan. They also were one of the biggest sponsors of the latest AR Rahman’s concert in Dubai. In his own words, Mr. Kulwant Singh believes that, “It is important to stay humble and level headed. My dad is like that and he has inculcated in us the same values and I hope my kids follow the same path as well” and staying true to his words, he still enjoys Punjabi food and Bollywood music that connects him to his roots.
Yet after all these successes and awards like Gulf Indian Excellence award-2016, National Tourism Award from the India's ministry of tourism as the best overseas tour operator for India in 2014 and Forbes Middle East Top Indian Leaders in the Arab World 2016, one milestone only leads to the next according to him. For him, Lama Tours is an achievement but he also believes that one is never satisfied with what is achieved but the expectation only grows.