Interview with Nshuti Daniel from Vazquez Tours, Rwanda
The outbreak of Covid-19 has put a standstill to the hospitality and tourism sector worldwide.
Citizens have been urged to stay at home to stop the spread and as a result, the tourism and hospitality industry has been experiencing the hardest period in living memory.
While some countries in North America, Asia and Europe have begun to ease their restrictions and are welcoming holidaymakers again, others are still left waiting.
We talked to Nshuti Daniel from Vazquez Tours in Rwanda, who just recently reopened his tours and safari business after COVID.
Nshuti shared his thoughts on:
- How to reopen safely and responsibly after COVID;
- What changes he had to make; and
- What recommendations he has for others.
How did you manage your business and staff during the lockdown?
Managing our business during the lockdown wasn't easy at all, but when you have the right people in your team it becomes easier because of them. We agreed with the team to work at least 5 hours per day (Monday to Friday) and made sure all tasks given were accomplished.
On weekends we used to have only one person for a few hours and each weekend we’d pick another person.
The communication between us was done online, of course with the help of technology video calls. Our company paid all staff 50% of their salary in order to help both sides through this tough time.
What did you change to adapt to the needs of clients post COVID?
We had to change our plans which were concentrating only on international clients and create more packages that can be enjoyed by locals at affordable prices, so we can raise some money for our company.
The first necessity clients need post-COVID is safety. We are working hand in hand with the team and with our government to make sure people who are coming to visit Rwanda feel safe and protected. We know very well that it is not only a government obligation but a collective effort.
Were there any additional costs involved?
Of course, in everything you engage your company in, there is always a cost to maintaining your line and goals with.
Is there anything that you would do differently, knowing what you know now, if you had to go into lockdown and prepare for reopening again?
I would concentrate on creating more activities (packages) that can be experienced by locals because once your country reopens, it takes time and more effort for international tourists to visit your destination.
If you focus on local visitors first, it will help your company to get some money and reduce the budget that you allocated until the arrival of internationals.
Another thing I’d recommend doing during the lockdown period is revising all your products, social platforms, websites, to make sure to come back much stronger after the crisis than before and to be present on the market.
What would you recommend to others who are still preparing for their country or region to re-open?
I would recommend them to prepare themselves by updating their current products and strategies that will help them with re-opening.
And again, let me outline it, prepare some good packages for local tourists so that you can raise some money while you are waiting for your international visitors.
To learn more about Nshuti, his company Vazquez Tours & Travel and to explore beautiful Rwanda visit http://www.vazqueztours.com