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touringa » Mashareeb

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Dec
29


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Interview: The Man Behind “touringa”

Some people still don’t believe in the power of the internet, they can’t grasp the idea that you can go big and make dreams come true through the world wide web and it really does not matter where you’re coming from. While some understand how far things can go online, they take an initiative and start working on their dreams and make the whole world see what they have.

We have an example here of  an Egyptian who wanted to go worldwide with a great idea for a travel website and coming from Egypt did not stop him. We were very fortunate to have an exclusive interview with Amr El Beleidy, the person behind touringa, with a dream to shape up and change the way people travel.

Interview:

- So, what exactly is touringa?

Amr: touringa is an online community where everyone shares what they can show you in their part of the world, the stuff that’s of special interest to them and that you will not find in any guidebook. Other members then see these tours online and go out to meet them in the real world.

- How did you come up with the idea?

Amr: I had travelled to Bangkok, Madrid, Paris, Copenhagen, the south of Sweden, and Mexico City all being hosted by friends I have in these cities, who showed me what it is really like to be living there. While I was in London, I remember thinking wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a chance to travel like that? And this is how the idea for touringa was born.

- What were the steps you took to start up this project? Did you face any problems?

Amr: The first thing I did was to tell some friends. I wrote up the idea, sent it to them, waited for feedback. It was overwhelmingly positive. This encouraged me to put a team together, which then failed to produce anything and was disbanded within months. At the encouragement of one of the team members another much smaller team was put together. We still failed to produce much, but we were moving forward. It was not helping that each one of us was living in a separate country at the time. We later all returned to Egypt, put an office together and that’s when the real work started.

So far I would not say we have faced any major problems. The only time I was worried when I was disbanding the initial team, which consisted mainly of my friends, and I did not want to lose any of them. Luckily they all still talk to me, which I greatly appreciate.

- How can you join or have an account on touringa?

Amr: You have a number of options, request an invitation off our website http://touringa.com , let us know you would like to join us on our facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/touringa-travel-with-the-tribe/118581461487513?ref=ts ) or send us something on twitter (@touringa) and we’ll send you an invitation code provided you don’t seem to be a spammer.

- What can you do with an account on touringa?

Amr: With an account on touringa you can tell the world about what you can show them, and meet up with all the people who want to see what you have. You also get to see what everyone else has to show you and meet up with them. touringa is very interactive and is about people, so we’ve made it easy to interact with anyone in the community in a number of ways.

- Can you tell us about an experience with a tour you have hosted on touringa?

Amr: I hosted a tour to the Wady El Rayan protectorate which I have been going to for a very long time. It’s a natural reserve close to Cairo that many don’t know about. Everyone met and off we went to have a wonderful day. Despite none of the travelers knowing each other, everyone got along surprisingly well, it must be the spirit of discovery and adventure. But don’t take my word for it, you can read their reviews on my tour when you join us.

- Where is touringa right now from the final product?

Amr: I don’t think there is a final product for touringa, we plan to shift and move to accommodate what the community wants as we develop. However we do have an idea for an initial product and we are very close to that. We already have a beta version up and running but we are planning on taking it one step further, hopefully in the coming months.

- What are your goals and dreams with touringa?

Amr: I have a vision of how touringa can change the way people travel all over the world, and that’s what I want to see happen.

- Do you think it is possible for a website from Egypt to go international or make world wide success?

Amr: Yes. That’s the beauty of the internet, it knows no borders. There is no reason why being in Egypt is a disadvantage, in fact I can think of many advantages to being here.

- You had an idea and you’ve done it, what would you advice people in Egypt with great ideas but no enthusiasm?

Amr: I once read somewhere that good ideas are a dime a dozen, the difference is in the implementation. So my advice is that you need a lot of enthusiasm and action to get something done — an idea is never enough. You will be knocked down a number of times to say the least and you will have to keep going. In the relatively short time span of touringa’s life, we came so close to giving up more than I would like to think of, so unless you are willing to keep getting up and going, your idea might never see the light.

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We would like to thank Amr El Beleidy for giving us this chance to talk with him and we highly encourage everyone to check out the website (www.touringa.com) and send an invitation request to join in and have an account.

It is an amazing idea and a game changer for travelling that we support 100% and we would love you to spread out the word about the website to everyone you know. Support Egyptian creativity.


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