If working for a company for 17 years does not show you that it is high time to start your own business then what would?
Today the former Air Namibia employee; Magareth Gonzalez Garcia is now the owner and Operations Manager of Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau. After working for Air Namibia she decided it was time to spread her wings in what she knows best. She started her own company in her late 40s.
“I worked for Air Namibia for 17 years and whilst I was there I said to myself it is high time I must go out there and do my own things while I am still young. I still had the strength to carry on so I left Air Namibia and immediately I started my own business. I opened Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau in 2012 and started working from my garage,” she says.
In 2013 she moved to Windhoek Country club and Casino resort, and in 2014 moved to Hider shopping centre in Klein Windhoek so she could be closer to people.
Apart from the normal packages that include Conference Packages, Hunting Packages, Wedding Packages, Scenery Flights, Chattered Flights, Escorted & Guided Tours and Sight Seeing Tours, Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau also specialises in hotel selling and car hire. It also has standing packages like for instance touring Cape Town, Mauritius and Victoria Falls.
More so, it provides tailor made packages were packages are booked according to clients needs. “Clients have their own time and they say where they want to stay and for how long, and then they move on to another place and they will tell you what they need like for example in this time of the holiday I need a hot air balloon or cruise, so we built a complete tailor made package,” she explains.
Gonzalez Garcia says most of the clients are Namibian and some of them are from different governmental departments. She says she gets most support from local people. In addition she says there are some European clients that come to Namibia for five or seven days and are given a complete package.
Gonzalez Garcia says usually at the moment most of the clients travel for business. In that market they specific needs because they need to be at some place at a specific time and they know where they need to stay. Therefore, they need to find the nearest place they can be so that it is also very easy for them.
She advertises her business in international magazines like the National Geographic magazine to market it to the world.
“I advertised last year in the National Geographic magazine were they print about 12billion copies and are spread worldwide for the year. Every country has one travel agency that can advertise so I advertise for Namibia,” she says.
Gonzalez Garcia says it is important for a Namibia to have a travel agency that specialises on making Namibian flights affordable so people can go out and see the world.
“So I try to make the flights really affordable, and also we have only Namibians that are working at Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau. We are a 100 percent BEE Company and 100 percent woman owned company,” she says.
“All my stuff is women. At the moment we have one of our stuff members in Disney World in Florida she got a scholarship for one year to go to Disney World so I am proud to know that she is there and will be back by the end of the year with more knowledge,” she adds.
Competition is inevitable in this line of work and she reckons that for the business that is new into the market competing with the big travel agencies out there is a challenge. However with her 17years of experience in the Aviation industry is playing a very big role because she has all the knowledge which some travel agencies do not have.
“I have the tourism and aviation knowledge and we are fully equipped and competent to run our travel agency and to make a success of it,” she says.
With Namibia being one of the biggest tourism countries in the World, the hunting season which is the winter season is usually the time clients flock into Namibia. Also around festive season when most people want to go out and see the world and when it is school holidays, those are the high seasons and Flamingo Holiday and Travel Bureau tries to pull off all