The continued growth of the local tourism industry is increasingly opening up opportunities for Rwandans across the country.
One such investor is Theodore Nzabonimpa, a lawyer and founder of ‘Beyond the Gorillas Experience Limited’, a company involved with innovative tourism and hospitality.
This firm is based in Kinigi Sector, Musanze District in Northern Province.
His company specialised in cultural, historical and nature based tourism activities as well as services such as hikers.
The venture began in 2012 with the founder keen on not only attracting tourists but also with an aim to create jobs for the youth and women around the Volcano National park.
Since he had little resources for marketing when he started out, he relied on personal interactions to market his business.
“Having realised the gaps in tourism in terms of extending tourists, stay in Rwanda, I decided to start expeditions based on culture, history and natural resources and it picked up,” the entrepreneur notes. Nzabonimpa says that even though he lacked startup capital, he was driven by innovative business ideas, enthusiasm, and professionalism, which eventually saw his venture take off. He calls upon young people to change their mindset, from focusing on capital challenges to finding innovative ways to implement business concepts which can generate money.
“I have been able to employ 30 permanent workers and about 280 beneficiaries, these are local people working in different areas, such as traditional dancers, traditional music players, porters, weavers, wood carvers to mention but a few,” the tour operator explained.
He said that, currently, the firm has three tourism information offices.
He is also among the licensed tourist guides and tour operators in Rwanda with his firm having operations across the country, and with the clientele having grown from four customers a month to over 37 customers a month.
“Create your own opportunity from innovative ideas by changing the community around you,” he advised the youth.
Nzabonimpa’s customers’ packages range from $30 to $10,000.