Zimbabwe has been listed as one of the best tourist destination in the world. The tourism industry is considered a strategic sector which contributes to the economic objectives of the government. Operating a tour business in Zimbabwe is very profitable. Success can be applauded on its people, natural resources, the culture and the history of the country. Every year, about 2 million tourists come to Zimbabwe. The tourists will be from the rest of Africa, America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The sector also contributes at least $827 million per annum since 2014.
From the above, it is clear that there is a market for starting a travel tour company. This is especially for those with an interest in travel and sightseeing, although necessary knowledge on how to start this business is required. You need to carry out market research and have a good travel tour business plan before starting this business. The following will help you establish a profitable tour company.
Knowledge of the type of products and services to offer
Sorry fellows but if you looking for shortcuts then the tour business is not for you. You need to be well vexed and be able to provide your clients the best always. For clients going on holiday means affordable packages that include accommodation, activities and especially daily transfers. You may also offer specialized packages for groups at discounts and personalized packages for high income earners with preferences. You may offer guided tours to suit needs of clients too. In tourism, flexibility and service excellence is key.
License needed for Tour Business
You need a license to legally operate a tour business in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is the licensing body in Tourism. However, you would have to first register the company according to the Company’s Act. General requirements to be submitted to the ZTA are bank statement, public liability or insurance (minimum $5 000), a copy of the certificate of incorporation, and CR 14 and so on. To add on, you are required to submit additional items such as a permit from the Ministry of Transport, car registration books, Tour guide license, lease of office if operating internally in Zimbabwe. The requirements increase if one is to operate externally.
Capital for Tour Business
To kick start the tour business, you need financing. To apply for a loan, you must have collateral. If possible attract a few investors who can join you as shareholders. The biggest investment you will have to make is in the acquisition of a fleet of motor vehicles. It is cheaper to purchase them in South Africa, UK or Japan. You can start your tour business with a minimum of $50000.
Premises for your tour business have to be neat, comfortable and welcoming. Tourists are people who come from different backgrounds and your front office has to be attractive as well as reflective of the diversity in clients you serve. The location also has to be accessible and central, to cater for walk in clients. Select a renting space which can be refurbished at minimum costs. Most importantly it must have a safe parking space and area.
Furniture and Equipment
The office has to be furnished with different types of sofas and tables, a reception table, chairs and tables for operators. You can hire an expert interior designer to do the job so your office may be up to standard. The person is better placed to inform you of the right pieces of antique and furniture you need for the office.
Your tour travel business will have many motor vehicles. These form the largest value of your investment, thus you need travel insurance and motor insurance. Indemnity cover may also be subscribed to cover for incidences such as theft.
Management and employees
For transfers and activities to flow smoothly, you need competent staff who can efficiently manage the use of the vehicles and with good planning, organizational and time management skills. The staff also has to be service oriented, patient with good communications skills. The staff interacts with different people from different backgrounds and thus they have to be open minded and friendly. You need tour operators, drivers, tour guides, reservationists, receptionists, sales agents, cleaners and security personnel for the premises. For management of your tour business you can have an operations manager.
Established relationships and networks
This is a people industry. Establishing good relationships with other companies such as hotels, lodges and fellow operators will help to fully establish your tour business. Hotels offer accommodation packages and thus you can enter into agreements and get discounts for your clients. You may also earn commission for promoting their products to your clients. Most of the business comes through referrals and good relations will get you more business over time.
Without a well defined marketing plan, it is difficult to get clients for your tour business. The marketing plan will help you identify your target market and how you can reach out to them. To add on, it will help you assess competitors and the survival strategies you need to keep the business up and running. Promotion of the business may be done via a website. In this technology era, most bookings are done online. Hire an expert web designer or developer to create the best website and the rest is magic. Make sure the office is stacked with brochures and different types of fliers which clients can get at reception.
Profitability and costs
At first, your aim should be to increase sales and thus you may introduce incentives and commission to your marketers and sales agents. These may also be extended to clients who give referrals. Another marketing tactic can be that of extending corporate discounts to target companies that give you clients. The above mean that at first, your costs will be higher but once the clients increase you start making profits. Consider offering luxury tours to increase your market.
Maintain a high standard, be reputable and resourceful in order to get to the top and definitely you will succeed. Annual profits range are at least $15 000 and upwards once the business is settled. Operational costs mainly consist of fuel, car servicing and regular payment renewal of insurance. Other costs relate to office expenses, salaries and rent amongst other.This business is very viable. Tourism has huge lucrative profits and as time goes on, you can expand your business.
We wish you the best in your travel tour business. Check out more business ideas and our collection of business plans. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in your email.
A note from StartupBiz Zimbabwe: Everyday we send business updates via Whatsapp. Click the link to join: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Cb2GwP3FGMSDpGJdXHrNEH or send the word join via Whatsapp to +263778798072 (Whatsapp us by clicking the link https://wa.me/263778798072).