By Mark Kawalya
Tourism in many African countries is largely underfinanced despite its potential to contribute substantially to the countries’ GDPs and be a major driver of employment for citizens.
Launched in 2019 and formerly known as TripXio, Tripesa is a startup that seeks to decentralize the digitization of tourism so that operators can be directly involved in the process. The firm is automating the tourism value chain in Africa through building a payment first business management solution that is specific to the industry.
Tourism is one of the sectors that has been worst hit by the pandemic, necessitating a need for the industry to turn to digital means to foster recovery and growth. Tripesa enables businesses involved in tourism service provision to get online so they can access e-payments, market their experiences and keep records.
Small-to-medium tour operators are given a digital platform (website) that enables them to curate new packages, accept bookings and payments, whilst also managing their marketing-centered activities. Essentially Tripesa gives local players a tool that enables them to streamline their entire business processes so that they can run their business efficiently.
Tripesa’s service includes a website constructor, an itinerary generator, and payment processing, which allows businesses to build fully functional websites without any knowledge of coding. The firm also enables SMEs in the tourism industry to receive local and international payments that are facilitated by VISA, Mastercard and settlements from banks to mobile money.
The firm also extends its services to businesses that already have a website, but wish to leverage their technology to better manage their operations, improve client interactions, and ease their online payments.
Tripesa’s clientele includes businesses offering tour and travel experiences, car rental companies, bars and restaurants, crafts makers, and African fashion houses, among others.
“It is a customer-centric product, actively talks to customers and will continue to undergo numerous updates to suit their needs. We envision a growth potential for the company anchored on the need to change the lives of our customers.” says Thomas Mbashu, Tripesa’s County Lead in Kenya.
Statistics by the East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Management show that tourism is one of the most important sectors in the economy of the EAC region. 17% of export earnings are contributed by the sector, while its GDP contribution averages at about 10% and generates 7% of employment for the citizens of the member states.
Tourism is also intertwined with other sectors like agriculture, the arts, manufacturing, and finance, among others.