“I have always had an inherent connection with Africa and was lucky enough to spend much of my childhood exploring Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania,” shares Nico, who worked in the tourism industry for 12 years before recognising a gap in the Asian travel industry – and co-founding luxury tour operator Lightfoot Travel in Singapore in 2009.
“We wanted to be able to service clients for holidays across the world. In my previous company, I just sold Africa holidays,” says dad-of-two Nico, who holds a British passport. “But, when we started Lightfoot, we were only three people and I had to sell mostly Asia holidays. Thankfully, we now have a highly skilled sales team.”
There were other hurdles, too, including having to educate the local market about the concept of bespoke travel. “In Singapore, the traditional high-street travel agencies offered packages to their clients,” explains director Nico, who has since opened offices in Hong Kong and Dubai, with one coming soon in London. “Now, we have a strong customer base, having delivered over 10,000 holidays.”
About The Finder Expatpreneur Awards
In 2017, The Finder debuted its first-ever Expatpreneur Awards to honour foreign-born entrepreneurs running successful expat-owned businesses in or from Singapore. This 2018, a new batch of 23 Expatpreneur Awardees have been unveiled! All of them have one thing in common: Their brands help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s core mission. (Find out more about the Expatpreneur Awards judge who coined the term “expat-preneur” in 2015 while you’re here!)
By Sushmita Mohapatra and Savitha Venugopal, The Finder Issue 292
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