I took part in Speed Networking at WTM London many moons ago as a travel writer/blogger.
Bruce approached me from Sunway Safaris, who was interested in collaborating for promotional purposes. He knew of my love for Africa and, after a while, asked why I wasn’t selling Africa instead of just writing about it. It was like a light bulb switched on in my head, and I thought, ‘He’s right, why don’t I?’
LEARNING ON THE FLY
I then began to plan how to set up a specialist tour operation for Africa and, as they say, the rest is history. I had a phenomenal start to 2020, but COVID-19 nearly made my company kaput. Luckily, I had a side income and could make it through the storm. I am very much self-taught and resilient, and it shows.
I love looking back and laughing at my first event as a buyer. I met with an exhibitor who asked me whether my business was FIT. I had no idea what FIT meant but avoided the problem by explaining who I book for and how. At the lunch break, I frantically Googled to find out what FIT meant! Haven’t most of us been there at least once in our growth paths to success?
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE
For me, nothing even comes close to the experience of a proper physical event with the opportunity to meet face-to-face with new and old friends and partners. The travel business is so dependent on personal relationships that Zoom just doesn’t cut it – so let’s hope we are now firmly on the road back to the good old days of trade shows.