Saturday, August 13, 2022

Interview With Entrepreneur, Traveller and Augustine Tours’ Founder, Augustin Ndikuriyo

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1. Hello Augustin, can you please introduce yourself?

Hello! My name is Augustin Ndikuriyo, I’m a tourism entrepreneur and founder of Augustine Tours, a travel company offering tailor-made tours in East Africa. Inspired by St. Augustine” The World is a book and those who don’t travel only read one page”, I believe that tourism is a great channel for both educational and cultural exchange. This is where our company like ours plays its role in connecting people.

2. How do you conduct your tours and why would one book with your company?

On a broad level, we focus on tailor-made tours as this style of travel has enabled us to offer tour programs that our clients feel good about.
This surpasses wildlife programs that Africa tourism is mostly known for.

The tourism potential goes beyond being a wildlife destination for the famous big five: elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos. A perfect blend of wildlife and culture makes your Africa vacation worthwhile on every level. Our website packages can be adjusted according to the clients’ wishes.

So, each tour is designed to give guests a unique and authentic experience of both cultural and wildlife aspects.

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As a local company, we are well positioned to respond to requests from solo travellers, families and small group travellers with this level of customization.

We want every guest to have an educational experience, fantastic memories and a one of a kind experience by making tourism accessible to all.

3. On your homepage, one can read” Tailor-made for Responsible tourism in Africa”, how do you translate this into your work?

Well, if you go to our social media accounts like Instagram you will find also this phrase: “Because travel is no longer a privilege, tailor-made tours for responsible tourism in Africa are for everyone (all ages)”.

If you consider the costs involved in travelling from flights, hotels, transport, guides and visit fees, you might say I am exaggerating or just being unrealistic.

Well, you may be right. But the good news is, there are many ways of travelling at reasonable costs. Wildlife has been in the past regarded as a sole destination attraction, which made other tourism points be overlooked.

And this has made people think that in order to be able to travel to Africa, they have to sell their houses. 
And again, this restricts a large number of young people from travelling to Africa. From our 9 years of operations, we have received a few numbers of people under 30 of age.

One day, I was in a meeting with my colleagues and then one asked a question that came to me like a punch. “Where are the young people travelling to?”.
After a minute of silence, I remembered that I founded the company as I was turning 26.

From that day, we adopted a new approach to encourage more young people to travel to East Africa either on educational or cultural programs. Tourists will get into the bush, walk, hike and meet nature up close, all in a way that supports the environment.

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They allow young people to experience local culture, foods and interact with the locals. This is where the social or cultural exchange aspect appears to play a big role in connecting people. And such programs don’t necessarily have to be expensive.

I take an opportunity to announce a 10-day Rwanda tour program from July 24- August 1, 2020, that will take young people from everywhere around the world, through a Rwandan cultural immersion. More details will be available soon on our website.

4. Where do you think, the company is making an impact?

I will speak from two aspects which are Tourism and Corporate travel management.
We have been able to be a strong bridge for companies and individuals travelling to seek new markets and partners for their businesses. We are fortunate to have successfully organized a good number of corporate trips.

Our tours impact the local community as well and have given a new image the countries where we take our clients. It is only recently that I got an email from a client who had finished a 3-week trip throughout Rwanda and Burundi that read” We are waiting for our flight to Doha and leave Rwanda with fantastic memories and very positive impressions”. Seeing tourism have a positive impact on both locals and tourists is encouraging.

5. And what does “running tours in Africa” particularly means to you?

We take clients through Africa we know. Tourism for me is a school class for both those who take trips and organize them. You will see, observe, experience, inspire, be inspired, appreciate and value cultures and countries other than yours.

You will rarely hear a language of prejudice from people who travel.

6. What are the tourism trends that excite you?

The internet plays an important role as a channel of communication and marketing. Many companies invest tremendous amounts to stay ahead of competitors. However, in this industry, there is no “one-size-fits-all”.  You’re planning a vacation to a given destination, you can find numerous offers online, but not all are best for you. This is where the local tour provider intervenes in crafting a tailor-made package according to your wishes. Internet brokers don’t offer this.

7. If you were to switch to a new career, which one would that be?

I never thought about changing career, but I think I would go for anything that doesn’t keep me far from meeting and talking to people.

8. You seem to enjoy working with people, how many languages do you speak?

Besides my native language Kirundi, I can speak and write 4 languages English, French, German and Swahili.

9. What is one business idea that you can share with our readers?

Besides having a vision, set yourself a work strategy and discipline that will keep you focused. If you do it, you will see your projects getting done efficiently and on time.

10. And the last word for our readers?

Travelling in Africa is accessible to all people of all ages through tailor-made tours.

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Noelle Elia
Noelle Elia
is a Financial analyst at PSPC. Graduated from Telfer School of Management, Finance/Accounting with interest to Entrepreneurship and New Media.
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