Guide tourists for cash

Wednesday February 14 2018

Guide tourists for cash

Donald Champion Ainomugisha (right), a tour guide operator, takes some tourists on a tour. PHOTO BY DOROTHY NAKAWEESI 

The stress of finding an exciting holiday destination has pushed some people to pay for planned adventure. Dorothy Nakaweesi tells you what it takes to make some money as a tour guide.

Did you know with just a laptop equipped with data you can start a tour and travel business and earn in dollars?
Yes. This article will show you how to become a millionaire by just taking around tourists to different attractions.
In an ideal world, tour or tourism is the activity of traveling to a place for pleasure. It isthe business of providing hotels, restaurants and entertainment for people who are traveling.

Ideally, experts say if you own a laptop, you can only spend money on buying internet/data and start.
Mr Newton Buteraba, the chief executive officer of House of Wealth – a local firm that offers business advisory services and motivational speaking in an interview with Prosper Magazine, shares: “Tourism business thrives so much online. You don’t have to worry about a brick and mortar office when starting. With a laptop equipped with data, you can open up a website or a social media page which promotes tourists attractions in Uganda.”
He says that if you don’t own a laptop, the least you can invest for a good laptop, would be about Shs1.5 million and with internet data to get you started. Data of about Shs50,000 would be enough to last you for a month or more.

Know how
Twenty four year old Donald Champion Ainomugisha owns a tour and travel business called African Encounters Limited.
“While still studying at Makerere University in 2013 and pursuing a Bachelors’ degree in Tourism and Hospitality, I did not wait to complete school. I started right with organising tours for fellow students,” he shared.
Five-years later, Ainomugisha who started with his laptop, has seen his business grow from $4,000 (Shs14 million) turnover in the first year to now $200,000 (Shs726 million) he earned by end of last year.
His clients mainly hail from Spain, German and USA. Besides operating in Uganda, Ainomugisha has spouted to South Sudan and Ethiopia where he has opened up subsidiaries.
“The reason why I spread to Ethiopia and South Sudan was because most of my clients love cultural tourism,” he shared.
He owns a fleet of four mini-vans and has created jobs for 15 Ugandans who are also supporting their families and paying taxes.

Just like any other business, tour guide involves dealing with people. Sometimes, you will get some employees who are not trustworthy.
“If you are not careful and strict, they will end up spoiling your business name,” Mr Ainomugisha warns.
Negative publicity about Uganda is the other challenge which those in this business experience. This discourages some tourists.

Mr Buteraba adds that although the tour guide business is lucrative, you need to do your homework.
Having found your tour idea and evaluated the market in the previous section, you are almost ready to register your business.
But then again Buteraba advises that you should research about your competition, so you know what you are up against. What are they doing well? Where are their gaps? Find ways to differentiate and stand out.

Buteraba shares that once you have your passion in mind, it is time to take a look at your country. Is it a popular tourist destination? What are the trends? Is there anything that has not been explored?
“While passion is key, it is equally important that there is an opportunity. Passion without opportunity is just a pastime,” he says.
Check in with your local tourism board to see if they have any market research reports that outline the opportunities and challenges in the industry.

Experts say you can do this business without investing so much because you will book trips, visits, hire vehicles and accommodation.
Ainomugisha says in order to be successful in this business, you need to find a challenge you are going to address. This means looking out for something unique – what others are not doing.
“Everyone can start a business. But what is that you can do with love, passion and again earn from it?” he adds.
If you handle your tourists well, they will spread the word and recommend you to their colleagues.

On a daily basis, he encounters women with a keen interest in mushroom growing but are constrained by market. He plans to train them to supply fresh mushroom for his winery business.
He also wants to produce fortified wine (mixture of wine and spirits). For now, Kalex mushroom wine remains popular among his customers.
Currently, each bottle costs Shs15,000, up from Shs10,000. Wine is normally associated with a high cost. Mr Kalanda intends to develop packaging for low-income earners with as low as Shs1,000 for a bottle.
If he wins the Shs30m prize from the Friends with Benefits project, he will develop a vacant piece of land for his winery business.