Uganda: How a Tourism App in Uganda Is Making Its Mark in East Africa – and Past


Kampala, Uganda — Founder Brian Namanya discusses the way forward for Tubayo, a web based market for lodging, excursions and different studies.

When Brian Namanya traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, for a convention in 2019, he used to be desperate to revel in town. Nevertheless it used to be his first time, and he did not know the place to start. One of the crucial choices used to be to pay trip brokers for a excursion, however this might had been pricey.

“I stopped up now not doing the rest. I simply stayed on the resort,” he says.

This were given him pondering. What if there used to be a platform the place it is advisable e book strolling excursions with a neighborhood who knew town smartly? Namanya says that is when the theory got here to him to construct Tubayo, a web based trip market the place vacationers can e book lodging and studies inside of East Africa. Thus far, the platform has about 77,000 customers.

With simply an web connection, he may achieve 27 million of Uganda’s 47 million citizens. It is why he named the platform Tubayo, this means that “we’re far and wide” in Runyankole, a neighborhood Ugandan language.

“All [it] required used to be construction tool. It used to be a very simple access level for a adolescence like me as it did not require a large number of capital,” Namanya says. The web may additionally give him get admission to to a world marketplace.

To make this dream a truth, Namanya had to put in combination a workforce to expand the era he wanted. He could not have the funds for to do this on the time, so he made up our minds to construct his platform on social media. Quickly after his go back and forth to Nairobi in 2019, Namanya arrange Tubayo on Instagram to show off the wonderful thing about Uganda and promote trip studies.

However the choice of those that purchased his studies or booked lodging the primary few months “used to be disappointing.” He grew to become to his Instagram fans, asking them to lend a hand advertise his paintings. He additionally advertised via phrase of mouth, and issues began choosing up.

Then, Mastercard identified his willpower, awarding him a fifteen,000-United States-dollar grant that allowed him to rent builders. He introduced the app in 2020.

Someone can show off merchandise or be offering studies like town excursions, flora and fauna tours and even health categories on Tubayo. All they have got to do, Namanya says, is create a bundle and add it to the platform.

Customers have the versatility to pay in native currencies or use smartphone cash apps like M-Pesa, choices now not presented via world trip platforms. This selection in particular appeals to native vacationers.

“Those are acquainted issues to them which [give] us the brink over the worldwide avid gamers who paintings strictly with greenbacks and playing cards to make transactions,” Namanya says.

Mugisha Boris Nahabwe, leader of operations at Tubayo, says it is as much as hosts to make a decision how a lot they wish to rate for an revel in or lodging. The web platform, alternatively, takes a 12% fee, which Namanya says is aggressive in comparison to different world apps.

However Collins Mbulakyalo, an lodging host on Tubayo from Kampala, says the platform fees hosts greater than 12%. He says he can pay a 20% fee for every reserving, in comparison to trip apps equivalent to Airbnb’s 3% and’s 15%. The top fee, he says, is the one drawback of the platform.

Mbulakyalo stays dedicated to the platform as a result of it’s native and has given him just right trade. In a just right week, Mbulakyalo, who joined the platform in 2022, says he will get two to 3 bookings.

Solomon Semukete is a participant for Uganda’s nationwide archery workforce who additionally hosts studies on Tubayo. He says he began webhosting archery studies towards the top of 2020 after a chum inspired him. In an afternoon, Semukete will get seven to ten purchasers, most commonly Ugandans. “The height used to be 15 in an afternoon,” he says.

He fees 51,000 Ugandan shillings (13.43 greenbacks) according to particular person for a two-hour consultation, then can pay Tubayo a fee of 12,800 shillings (3.37 greenbacks) according to particular person, which is 25% fee and above what the founder cited.

“Now not unhealthy for all of the paintings they do,” he says.

The platform used to be named Very best Startup for 2022 via the Chamber of Younger Marketers Uganda and used to be named the 2023 Tech Influencer of the 12 months via Pulse Influencer Awards.

As of November 2023, Tubayo had 8 everlasting workers, Nahabwe says.

As soon as a month, Tubayo additionally hosts a marketplace day in Kampala and Nairobi the place over 200 companies arrange store for hand made pieces, developing task alternatives.

In spite of those achievements, the corporate nonetheless faces demanding situations. As an example, Nahabwe says they lack the capability to check out each and every lodging and revel in presented on their platform to verify they’re as much as same old. This is able to be too pricey, he says. “We need to accept as true with that persons are doing what they are saying they’re doing,” he says.