Tour2.0, an online tourism start-up that has curated South African travel “experiences” aimed at both foreign tourists and locals interested in finding more about their country, has revealed plans to expand into at least five new markets in Southern Africa in the next 12 months.
Founder and CEO Daniel Adidwa said in an interview with TechCentral this week that he wants to replicate the model in other countries and is in advanced talks with venture capital companies to expand the business.
By the second quarter of next year, it hopes to have launched in a number of new markets. The initial focus will be on Mozambique, Mauritius, Tanzania/Zanzibar, Kenya and Uganda. “We will target South Africans going to those markets and we have already identified unique products they aren’t getting the opportunity to experience now,” he said.
Adidwa, who quit a corporate job in the advertising industry to start Tour2.0, said the company has developed a portfolio of 71 products with local communities across South Africa. “We are now looking at how best to roll this out to the rest of the continent,” he said. “We have seen there is demand.”
The company, which was launched in 2015 and which now has 11 full-time employees, sells the “experiences” directly via its website, but also works with the big tourism companies, including Tourvest, who sell its products as part of broader travel packages. About 90% of its customers are foreigners visiting the country, with the bulk coming from the US, the UK and Germany. “Our products add value to their itineraries.”
Tour2.0 has a range of private investors, including well-known ICT sector entrepreneur Richard Fearon, but to expand Adidwa is now seeking venture capital funding.
“I realised most foreigners are only exposed to the war-torn, heavily impoverished and safari elements of our continent,” he said. “People are not exposed to the interesting cultures that make us unique.”
Over 10 000 tourists have used the service to date, with the most popular experiences including a tour of Johannesburg, which takes visitors “through the history of of the city by exposing different arts, such as music and graffiti, and how they played a role in liberating the city from a political and social perspective”.
Another popular experience is a culinary tour of Alexandra, the impoverished township near Sandton in Johannesburg. “It allows people to get to know more about the South African people through their diet. People are able to learn about South African delicacies.”
Tour2.0 plays an active role in developing tourism experiences with local communities. “We are not just a platform with lists. Everyone is vetted continuously. We keep tabs on what’s going on on the ground. We are in the community. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without community buy-in.”
The company has had no incidents involving crime to date.
“Each of our experiences has to be original. If you come up with a novel idea and experience we can develop, will get our research team to work with you, copywriters come in, and we work it to a stage where it’s ready to be showcased through our platform and to our trade partners,” Adidwa said.
Tour2.0 collects on average 25% of the cost of an experience, with the rest going to the local guides and community. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media