Home Immigration Uganda: How a Tourism App in Uganda Is Making Its Mark in East Africa – and Past

Uganda: How a Tourism App in Uganda Is Making Its Mark in East Africa – and Past

Uganda: How a Tourism App in Uganda Is Making Its Mark in East Africa – and Past


Kampala, Uganda — Founder Brian Namanya discusses the way forward for Tubayo, an internet market for lodging, excursions and different experiences.

When Brian Namanya traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, for a convention in 2019, he was desperate to expertise the town. Nevertheless it was his first time, and he did not know the place to start. One of many choices was to pay journey brokers for a tour, however this is able to have been pricey.

“I ended up not doing something. I simply stayed on the lodge,” he says.

This bought him considering. What if there was a platform the place you would ebook strolling excursions with a neighborhood who knew the town nicely? Namanya says that is when the concept got here to him to construct Tubayo, an internet journey market the place vacationers can ebook lodging and experiences inside East Africa. So far, the platform has about 77,000 customers.

With simply an web connection, he may attain 27 million of Uganda’s 47 million residents. It is why he named the platform Tubayo, which implies “we’re in every single place” in Runyankole, a neighborhood Ugandan language.

“All [it] required was constructing software program. It was a straightforward entry level for a youth like me as a result of it did not require lots of capital,” Namanya says. The web may additionally give him entry to a worldwide market.

To make this dream a actuality, Namanya wanted to place collectively a group to develop the expertise he wanted. He could not afford to do this on the time, so he determined to construct his platform on social media. Quickly after his journey to Nairobi in 2019, Namanya arrange Tubayo on Instagram to showcase the great thing about Uganda and promote journey experiences.

However the variety of those that purchased his experiences or booked lodging the primary few months “was disappointing.” He turned to his Instagram followers, asking them to assist promote his work. He additionally marketed via phrase of mouth, and issues began choosing up.

Then, Mastercard acknowledged his dedication, awarding him a 15,000-United States-dollar grant that allowed him to rent builders. He launched the app in 2020.

Anybody can showcase merchandise or provide experiences like metropolis excursions, wildlife excursions and even health courses on Tubayo. All they must do, Namanya says, is create a bundle and add it to the platform.

Customers have the flexibleness to pay in native currencies or use smartphone cash apps like M-Pesa, choices not supplied by worldwide journey platforms. This characteristic notably appeals to native vacationers.

“These are acquainted issues to them which [give] us the sting over the worldwide gamers who work strictly with {dollars} and playing cards to make transactions,” Namanya says.

Mugisha Boris Nahabwe, chief of operations at Tubayo, says it is as much as hosts to resolve how a lot they need to cost for an expertise or lodging. The net platform, nevertheless, takes a 12% fee, which Namanya says is aggressive in comparison with different international apps.

However Collins Mbulakyalo, an lodging host on Tubayo from Kampala, says the platform prices hosts greater than 12%. He says he pays a 20% fee for every reserving, in comparison with journey apps akin to Airbnb’s 3% and Reserving.com’s 15%. The excessive fee, he says, is the one draw back of the platform.

Mbulakyalo stays dedicated to the platform as a result of it’s native and has given him good enterprise. In an excellent week, Mbulakyalo, who joined the platform in 2022, says he will get two to 3 bookings.

Solomon Semukete is a participant for Uganda’s nationwide archery group who additionally hosts experiences on Tubayo. He says he began internet hosting archery experiences towards the top of 2020 after a buddy inspired him. In a day, Semukete will get seven to 10 purchasers, principally Ugandans. “The height was 15 in a day,” he says.

He prices 51,000 Ugandan shillings (13.43 {dollars}) per particular person for a two-hour session, then pays Tubayo a fee of 12,800 shillings (3.37 {dollars}) per particular person, which is 25% fee and above what the founder cited.

“Not dangerous for all of the work they do,” he says.

The platform was named Greatest Startup for 2022 by the Chamber of Younger Entrepreneurs Uganda and was named the 2023 Tech Influencer of the 12 months by Pulse Influencer Awards.

As of November 2023, Tubayo had eight everlasting staff, Nahabwe says.

As soon as a month, Tubayo additionally hosts a market day in Kampala and Nairobi the place over 200 companies arrange store for handcrafted gadgets, creating job alternatives.

Regardless of these achievements, the corporate nonetheless faces challenges. For instance, Nahabwe says they lack the capability to examine each lodging and expertise supplied on their platform to make sure they’re as much as commonplace. This is able to be too pricey, he says. “We’ve to belief that individuals are doing what they are saying they’re doing,” he says.