The tourism and hospitality industry are one of Uganda’s fastest-growing sectors and a top revenue earner for the country. In 2019, the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics estimated that Uganda received 1.8 million tourists who injected about $1.4 billion into the Economy. Although tourism has the potential to become the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner, the sector has remained under-supported.
Tubayo a local startup has been reaching out to both international and local tourists to streamline Uganda’s travel experience and make it more rewarding for travelers. By using the company’s Tubayo app, travelers can book trips, discover experiences, choose accommodation and go on sight-seeing trips.
“I analyzed our market statistics which showed that travel was the fastest-growing industry by 2018. I needed an industry that was already established so that I could find ways to create a marketplace for them where customers can discover them. So, I developed an online travel platform which I named ‘Tubayo’ to mean that we are everywhere.” Brian Namanya the founder says.
The first hurdle, Brian an Economics graduate faced was a lack of expertise in the tech side of things that is central to running a technology-based company. To solve this, he hired local talent that used their skills to in areas such as app development and web construction.
The company hopes to accelerate the recovery of the tourism industry especially from the negative effects of Covid 19 Pandemic. By using their digital platforms, travelers, tour operators, and accommodation hosts are connected seamlessly to foster growth.
Additionally, the reduction of foreign tourist numbers due to Covid 19 necessitates a reorganization of the tourism business model. Tubayo works with businesses in tourism service provision to design packages that are better suited for local tourists. For a long time, the local demographic has been left out with most travel experiences targeted at foreign travelers.
To use the mobile application, you download and create an account with the Tubayo app. The app has destination, activities and accommodation tabs that let the users navigate and select their particular area of interest. For accommodation, travelers have options of private homes, guesthouses, apartments, hotels and lodges.
The app also has an option that allows locals to create Tubayo experiences. They can create accounts which enables them to list services that travelers might be interested in. These could be anything from services like photography and cooking classes to accommodation at guesthouses or private homes.
“Hosting with Tubayo is an opportunity for everyone to showcase what they can offer. You simply have to create a package around it, put it on Tubayo and let us expose it to the world. Simply create an engaging list, choose what you want to charge and wait for reservations to come in. It is an opportunity to create memorable experiences for travelers while earning money from doing the thing you love,” Namanya says.