[Startup Interview] Gyaviira Tumushabe, Co-Founder, Firm Tours and Safaris, Uganda
Gyaviira Tumushabe is a co-founder of Firm Tours and Safaris, a tourism startup based in Uganda. It offers services include wildlife safaris, mountain gorilla tracking, city tours, organized group tours, school tours cultural and religious tours, all arranged and operated within the bounds of Uganda.
Introduce your company
Firm Tours and Safaris is a startup inbound tour company based in Uganda, East Africa. The company was launched in November last year and our products and services include wildlife safaris, mountain gorilla tracking, city tours, organized group tours, school tours cultural and religious tours, all arranged and operated within the bounds of Uganda but with intentions to extend our operations to other nations mainly with in the East African community.
Who are the founders?
The startup was founded by Robert Akampa, Alex Alinaitwe and Gyaviira Tumushabe who are also the current owners.
What is the professional background of the founders?
The founders are graduates of Tourism management from Makerere University. Having sat in the same class, the young graduates found it necessary to start up a tour company to create employment not only for themselves but also others.
How is your company financed?
Company directors struggled to meet all the initial financing. Upon business commencement, we started using the returns from a few services sold.
Why did you start your Firm Tours and Safaris? What opportunities did you see?
The tourism sector contributes 11 per cent annually to the GDP of Uganda. As a result, the government has prioritized in the industry and is one of the three sectors to help the country achieve its vision 2040.
In addition, Uganda is home to unique wildlife, including the mountain gorillas which are endemic to the region and is also home to the big five and over fifty different cultures with unique opportunities for tourism. These are few of the many opportunities that motivated us to start up the company having studied and understood the industry.
What problem or problems does your company solve?
Help provide market to local community products like crafts and services like tour guiding, helpers. We help organize trips for people who would otherwise find it hard to do it for themselves. This includes hotel bookings, booking for local destinations, acquiring permits for some touristic activities from the responsible authorities and arranging transport.
What are the unique aspects of your business?
Our company has the best tour guides with enough product knowledge and customer care all aimed at providing the best travel experience to the company clientele
Who are your customers?
Local and international students, Honeymooners, wildlife enthusiasts especially primate and bird lovers, families looking for vacation
What are the dynamics in the tourism and industry?
The industry is very vulnerable. It is highly affected by events which in most times we as business holders may have no control over. The seasonality of the industry presents a challenge during the low peak season.
What does Firm Tours and Safaris need in order to grow?
The company needs marketing agents in the targeted international source markets especially in Europe and America who can help inform the potential market about the company and its products and make referals.
What are the ambitions of your company?
We look forward to expanding our operations to other countries with in the East African community which include Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
We plan to procure two tourist vehicles for the company and relocate our office to a better location.
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