Passionate traveller and entrepreneur, Renil Hamza, has always had the urge to travel and explore different cultures and destinations and he’s fed his wanderlust by visiting 50+ countries as a traveller, not a tourist.
1. How did you fall in love with travelling or start working within the industry as a career?
My first luxury hotel experience happened when I was eight years old. A scheduled flight was cancelled, and the airline accommodated our family in a five-star hotel for a two-night stay. Since then, I’ve had a fascination with luxury experiences and amenities.
Even as a kid the thought of travel got me happy and excited. I would never miss an opportunity to hop on an airplane and over the years, my desire to travel and explore began to grow.
Joining the travel industry was a mere coincidence when I started my career, but the decision to stay was one I’ll never regret.
As Paulo Coelho once said: “When you want something so desperately, the whole universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” And so, I believe that that’s what happened to me.
2. What kind of traveller are you?
I wouldn’t describe myself as exclusively interested in luxury when I travel. I like to go with the flow and enjoy all types of travel, whether that’s staying at a luxury five-star property or a hostel.
What’s most important for me is to get the real feel and vibe for the destination I’m visiting.
For me, travel is an experience that allows you to learn new things in life. I could embark on a backpack adventure pre-planned or with no plans at all and my wanderlust would simply take over. I specifically love nature, local culture, local food and tourist attractions.
3. Tell us about one of your most memorable trips/travel moments. Where and why?
It’s hard to pin it down to just one as all of my trips are memorable and I cherish each and every one. But if I were to single some out, I would highlight my trip to Cape Town and the combination of city, mountain and ocean, as well as my visit to Switzerland where I travelled to St. Moritz and enjoyed a one-of-a-kind travel experience on the Bernina Express. A personal favourite, it’s perhaps the most scenic Alpine train ride of all, although it probably competes with the Glacier Express competes for that title.
4. What lessons have you learnt from your experience during COVID – both personally and in your business?
The greatest lesson I’ve learnt is that the future is uncertain. Nobody can predict what it holds for any of us. It’s crucial that we’ve a crisis management plan at hand and are prepared for any eventuality. Being flexible helps us to face challenges head on without falling into despair. It gives us hope to look beyond the obstacles of today and allows us to work around them as we come to realise the infinite possibilities of tomorrow.
5. How confident are you that the travel and tourism industry in South Africa will survive & prosper over the next 2-3 years?
There’s such huge untapped potential in South Africa, given the South Africa’s diverse and distinct ecosystems, such as the Kruger National Park, the Western Cape’s beaches, the lush Winelands, the forests and lagoons along the Garden Route, and of course, the City of Cape Town itself. This destination has something for every kind of traveller, which is a rare thing.
6. What do we need to do to make sure that happens?
Africa has immense tourism potential owing to its distinct culture, landscape, indigenous art, flora and fauna. It’s crucial that this message reaches the discerning traveller. They need to know that Africa is safe, accessible, and diverse in its offerings. I believe that our music is also a huge crowd puller.
7. What are your top travel essentials?
I love to travel light with only the essentials like my passport, cash, credit card, mobile phone, camera, headphones, power bank, shoes, sunglasses and few items of clothing.
8. Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you…
- Like to see: Local tourist attractions
- Like to taste: All the local flavours and spices
- Like to feel: The aura of the destination
- Like to hear: The pilot’s announcement when we take off and land
- Like to smell: The air as I leave the city and explore nature