In the bid to diversify the pressure on the oil and gas sector and create other economic drivers in Nigeria, tourism has been suggested as a potential gold mine. However, it is not one that is immune to disruptions like the pandemic and its attendant restrictions. As a middleman industry, such disruptions spill over to other sectors, whose operations are interconnected.
Speaking during the weekly Nairametrics Business Half Hour show, Nsidibe Etim, Founder of Book Africa Travels, explained that travel restrictions had an impact on several local industries.
“To start with, the airlines shut operations and this affected the petroleum sector. Travels were put on hold and there were no tourists to patronize the local restaurants, and this in turn meant that the local restaurants no longer had reason to patronize the local farmers, and a lot of the harvest went to waste,” he explained.
Even after lifting restrictions, people are still afraid to travel. So, tourism is yet to pick up as people are still afraid of moving.
Unlike several other tourism platforms, Book Africa Travels simply connect the locals to the tourists – to create a local experience for them. It provides a digital platform to customize and book authentic activities and experiences in Africa, connecting the world to the best African experience, particularly its history, culture, and food.
This achieves two things: giving tourists a local experience at an affordable rate, and creating sustainable income flow for several local businesses.
On Book Africa Travels
For quite a long time, Africa has been promoted to the rest of the world as a Safari destination only. While this was quite attractive, it was also discouraging for tourists who did not have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on their tours.
Book Africa Travels was inspired by this gap in Africa’s tourism and travel space and started out as a platform to connect local experts and businesses with the tourists, who seek a local experience. According to Nsidibe, the platform is not just a ticket booking platform but is out to show tourists that they can travel to Africa on a budget and still get an amazing experience.
“Tourism is not just about traveling to a place, doing your business and returning. Book Africa Travels is out to expose tourists to much more in Africa, and help them to do more, experience the food and culture, do local shopping, and get the full local experience.
“We want our travelers to experience the place just like any local would. You could have a local tour expert that would take you around, because that is what traveling is all about, experiencing the world,” Nsidibe explained.
Being a digital platform, Nsidibe bootstrapped Book Africa Travels since it did not need a lot of capital. “For the first one year, we were reaching out to many people in different African countries, analyzing what they had in the local market and what they could offer to tourists,” Nsidibe said.
The company makes its profits from commissions made on sales to local experts and businesses, and all bookings on our platforms. “We ensure that they go with a pricing plan that suits their operations, and still allows us to make a profit of commissions that will be enough to keep us running.”
The AFCFTA has been billed to take off fully in January 2021 and this will connect more African countries to do business without tariffs and unnecessary taxes. This will directly increase business travel to and within Africa, giving African countries opportunities to promote local content.
“We intend to give business travelers a local experience, while they are also trying to get business done,” Nsidibe said.
Nigeria needs to expose more of its culture and history to the rest of the world, just like other African countries are doing, in order to encourage travels just like is seen in Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya. This way, it will effectively tap into the connections which Book Africa Travels establishes with the rest of the world.
Managing an online retail car outlet with Lou Odunuga, CEO of Betcarng | BHH
No one should get a car that steals his peace of mind – CEO Betacar.ng
Lou Odunuga discusses on Nairametrics’ Business Half Hour how Betacar.ng has prioritised ensuring purchases of quality certified cars can be stress-free.
Getting a car is like getting into a marriage or a relationship. You want to be sure you are not getting into the wrong one, says Lou Odunuga, CEO of Betacar.ng
Indeed, not a few people can testify to the problems and heartaches that come with getting the wrong car that spends more time at the workshop than in your garage. Though many car dealers claim to only sell the best quality cars to their customers, only a few actually stand to guaranty the quality of the cars. Betacar.ng is one of them.
As a guest during the weekly Nairametrics Business Half Hour show, Lou Odunuga, CEO of Betacar.ng narrated that the business had been born out of the personal experience of the hassles people go through to get a pre-owned vehicle.
Some years back, his cousins had requested he helped get a car for their father who was celebrating his birthday, and that was when it dawned on Lou that there was hardly an automotive e-market place where he could check out all the vehicles owned by a dealer before setting out, and so he ended up spending several days just checking out the cars the dealers had.
“Another really pressing challenge was that there was no standard price, so I would get prices ranging from 10 percent difference to almost double, with everyone claiming that was the price. There were also a lot of shady and shifty dealers looking for a way to make money off you and sell you a car that is not entirely good,” he explained.
Being a mechanical engineer himself, Odunuga thought up the betacar concept as a solution to this.
How betacar.ng solves the challenge
As an e-automotive dealer, betacar.ng has an online place where prospective buyers can check out the cars before leaving their homes, so they could decide at once if they found what they wanted. Overtime, it has now developed into a hybrid platform where buyers can carry out their entire transactions online, offline, or a mixture of both.
The team also ensures that all vehicles go through a thorough diagnosis and a 200 point check where they are certified to be fit for sale. This is about the singular part of the business that gives it an edge over competition.
“Several dealers can insist to you that they are selling you good cars, but not many will stick out their neck to guaranty you the quality of the car and this is where we stand out. Amid several car dealers, you are not just looking for access but you want good quality. We see car buying like a marriage or like a relationship. You don’t want to buy a car or get into a relationship with a car that takes your peace of mind. Customers keep coming back because we stand by the cars we sell,” Odunuga says.
The company makes its profit from getting cars at the best sourcing price, passing it through the right processes before selling at a competitive price to customers.
As part of its moves to make car purchases stress-free, the company in 2019 launched the Betacar financing option that allows buyers to adopt a flexible payment plan and get a car without having to sacrifice other life necessities.
As a young startup, Betacar.ng has not yet opened up to investors, but has funded its operations thus far from personal savings and partnerships as “the plan is to start small and grow big”.
After pulling through the pandemic challenges which crashed car sales due to economic uncertainties, Betacar.ng has bounced back and continues to move towards becoming a big player in the automotive space.
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