Covid changes tourism market
Iréne-Mari van der Walt
Part-owner of Swakop Cycle Tours Paul Ndjambula says despite his business being conceptualised during his time as an intern, it took five years and the addition of a business partner to realise his dreams.
Ndjambula had always dreamed of a career in the tourism industry.
“As a teenager, I always saw tourists being dropped off in the townships by minibuses and I would see them walking around so I was curious,” he says.
Ndjambula’s curiosity led him to approach a tour operator and offer his assistance.
“I asked the owners to come along during the weekends when I was available and I did that for a few months. Over time, they knew I had enough knowledge to help out when they did not have enough tour guides. As a result of that, I studied tourism after school,” he says.
During an internship at Namib-I, his boss Briggite Wilson approached him with an article in the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper of a man who offered township cycling tours.
“She said to me, ‘Paul, you’re still young, this is a good business opportunity for you,’ and that’s where I started,” he says.
The pursuit of his passion led Ndjambula to opening Inspire Tours and Safaris as the sole owner.
“Inspire Tours and Safaris integrates well with Swakop Cycle Tours because we can offer cycling tours as part of our packages,” he says.
Ndjambula has youth development at heart and puts this at the forefront of both his businesses.
“I also benefited from such initiatives when I was young. Many youths go to school and they have the degree but they have no practical experience, so we offer things like internship programmes to empower our youth,” he says.
Ndjambula believes that his profession is driven by passion.
“If you don’t have the passion to serve people, then you are in the wrong industry. I wake up every morning with a passion to serve others and the will to do better. To me the most important thing is making clients smile,” he says.
He is certain that this same passion will carry his industry through the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have seen the market change. Our numbers have been picking up in the last month, but there are not as many buses. It’s mainly self-drives and families. This means we will have to look into finding ways to make our product family friendly. We need to understand our market and use that understanding to exceed client expectations,” he says.