Invest Wisely: Welcome Pack

Have you ever thought about the number of unique international visitors that your country receives through its major ports of entry?

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia, boast of international airports that receive visitors from all over the world. The visitors land at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Moi International Airport, Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam International Airport, Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport, Uganda’s Kampala International Airport or Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa International Airport. With an average of 1,000,000 visitors going through each airport, we would assume that all go through an immigration desk to have their passes of entry validated.

It also means that each of these unique visitors talked to someone from the country and the local person had an opportunity to say, “welcome to our country”.

This assumption is what we capitalize on as a business/ investment idea to be explored this week. It is possible to welcome each visitor at our international ports of entry with a touch of hospitality. For a place like East Africa, this is a venture that would work extremely well if fronted by the private sector engaged in tourism, embraced and facilitated by the Ministry of Tourism, the East African Community, tour firms and the relevant tourism promotion bodies in each country.

The Idea

A welcome pack for each unique visitor entering the country.

Let’s look at some numbers

According to the World Bank (data.worldbank.org), Rwanda’s international tourism by number of arrivals (not necessarily unique) grew from about 688,000 in 2011 to about 926,000 in 2014. Assuming a modest growth, we would approximate that 2015 could have registered about 1,000,000 visitors walking though the international arrivals gate of Rwanda.

The Money factor

If implemented in a case like the above, a businessman would see these as 1,000,000 customers who each received a welcome pack valued at an average of USD 50. Executed well, one can easily earn royalties from this idea or even sell it at a high price for others to take the headache of managing it well.

How it would work

  • Organize a welcome pack that is not an inconvenience to carry for the visitors to include:
  • A booklet highlighting key elements that upsell the country e.g. museums, national parks, beaches, lakes, hot springs, forests etc.
  • A trinket that captures the country e.g. a wrist band/ bandana, handkerchief, purse, wallet with a national symbol such as the colors of a flag, symbol of unity etc.
  • A uniquely written/ crafted welcome letter signed by the president or cabinet secretary/ minister in charge of tourism
  • A notepad/ notebook with outstanding messages, sights of your country such that when they are writing notes somewhere, your country will be jumping out at them.

What needs to be kept in mind

This idea would best be executed as a private-public partnership where the private sector collaborates very strongly with the government of the day. It is possible for the idea to be hijacked and others get accolades from your hard work so be careful how you pitch the idea if you really want to earn from its implementation. Do not be fooled by the large numbers. Benefiting for long from this idea will be assured if one doesn’t treat it as a one-time hit or miss.

With this kind of welcome pack, the participating bodies will not only be benefiting directly, but it will expand the benefits to the tour companies and hosts of the visitors as they can be tasked to get people to sell similar items in the welcome pack to the tourists for their return trip home.

About the author

Wangari Maina

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