John Tinka’s love for tourism and conservation has not only defined his life but also created a future for himself and family.
Even after choosing to retire as a civil servant having worked at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), he chose to advocate for conservation and community tourism.
Retiring into community tourism has seen the 55-year-old live the dream of his life – founding an astounding community tourism project which has had him tap into tourism revenue.
Visiting Bigodi, a village located in the highlands of western Uganda in Kamwenge District in the shadows of Ruwenzori Mountain 40 kilometres away from Fort Portal town is where you find Tinka.
Tinka retired in 1998 to concentrate on rallying the communities in his home area into conservation and this had always been his retirement dream.
The 55 – year – old, who also worked with the forest department in Kibale National Park, notes that he had been enlightened that communities could benefit more from conservation and tourism other than poaching that could lead to extinction and disaster.
When Tinka retired in 1998, he used some of his benefits to construct a storeyed family home in the village. It took him a year to complete the property that sits on two acres.
Eight years later, he had new plans for his house. He had conceived a homestay project from friends.
Premised with the high influx of tourists in the area, Tinka quickly thought of availing his spare rooms for rent.
“All I needed was basic provisions such as clean towels, bed sheets, clean toilets,” he says.
To run the business smoothly and make profit, Tinka would also convince his family to join. Both his son and daughter were immediately brought on board.
Today, Tinka’s homestay business is able to provide meals such as breakfast and dinner for guests.
“My daughter does a lot of marketing. She runs our business online. This has seen our business grow to heights,” says Tinka.
The amazing Tinka family will also let you experience stories and local dances. The homestead provides a perfect grandeur experience mixed with comfort and traditional life.
The retired civil servant says he receives on average 300 tourists per month both domestic and foreign. He charges Shs70,000 per night while a tourists parts with Shs15,000 for a meal such as dinner. In a good month, Tinka makes Shs9m as profit. “My retirement is fun filled,” he says.
Born in 1963, John Tinka has spent his entire life working in wild life circles and on tourism related projects.
Tinka retired in 1998 having worked with UWA, Buganda heritage sites in Mengo and Kibaale National Park.
He went to Bigodi Primary School in 1980 before joining Kihembo Secondary School and Ruteete Secondary School for O and A levels.