Passion for Tourism Spurs Own Agency

As Namibia becomes more appealing to tourists from around the world, many individuals are trying to secure a piece of the tourism cake by establishing new lodges or opening their own travel agency.

Some describe this new career path as their happiest job, while others say it’s a dream come true and more importantly, they have the drive to make it happen.

With more than 17 years of experience in the travel market, young and energetic Margareth Gonzalez Garcia recently opened her own travel agency in Hidas Centre in Windhoek and became the latest in the tourism market to arrange travel plans for people.

Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau started off from her garage at her home where she was operating for two years. She found a space at Hidas Centre last year to serve the travel world that she very much loves.

Asked why she chose to exchange a well-paying job at Air Namibia for a self-driven career, she replied assertively that any job is a huge challenge at the beginning if it is going to be worth something in the end.

She added that it takes time to establish and position any product in the international market if one wants to achieve a successful level of sales.

“I’ve been in the business for very long and I’ve gained enough experience to open up my own agency. Flamingo is a BEE company run by four women,” she said, adding that growth of the tourism sector in the country was another motivator.

“Many people are attracted to a career as a travel agent because of the perks, discounts on lodging, transport and the constant opportunities to see the world. I think I gained enough skills during my time at Air Namibia’s In House Holiday Department, to hold on to my dreams and fly as well.”

Gonzalez Garcia said most of the time she and her team are busy selling their product to the travel market.

“Today’s luxury traveller is back with a vengeance and constantly evolving, and it’s equally important to understand your client’s needs. I do have a wide variety of clients. I started simply with family and friends and it’s amazing how it has spiralled from there. My client base has expanded from all over the US to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”

She said marketing the company is important and social media has played a large role in developing the business.

“For instance, Facebook and Twitter provide unique opportunities to share experiences and ideas with clients, as well as potential clients, which often spark business opportunities for us.”

Gonzalez Garcia said when they’re not doing scenic research “you’ll find us behind the desk, emailing and talking on the phone. Your success rate is based on how well you can communicate. We have one person that is fluent in Portuguese and French and that’s an aantage for us.”

Gonzalez Garcia said staff at Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau offer aice on travel, research vacation spots and confirm arrangements.

“To be a travel agent you need to have skills, be worldly confident and one heck of a networker. You have to convince your clients that you’re offering them the best vacation they could possibly have in Namibia. Working in the travel industry at my previous job, people frequently confided in me for arranging their travel plans. Now I have my own company and expect them to support me,” she said.

“In this industry one should be creative and find innovative ways to market the business and what it does. I spend time updating the company’s Facebook, Twitter pages, which for me is the modern way of direct marketing. Everyone in my life from17 years ago now knows what I do for a living. We do postcards and brochures as well for our clients to have a good understanding of our country and distribute them locally.”

Her dream is to become a travel aiser and make her agency one of high calibre, and be someone who came from the corporate world to blaze a new path in travel tourism.

Source : New Era