Born in Moshi, near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Musaddiq undertook his further education in England, being awarded a degree in Business Administration and Finance after four years of study. He is rightly proud of the fact that he funded his education himself, by working part-time during term-time and also during the summer vacations to pay his own tuition fees and living costs. And it was in England that he gained his first valuable management experience, in the retail sector.
On his return to Tanzania, Musaddiq spent some time looking for an opportunity that would really suit his skills, experience and values. When he was offered the post of General Manager at Easy Travel, in 2007, he was confident that he had found it.
Anyone talking to Musaddiq will be impressed by his commitment and passion. Client satisfaction and leading a dedicated team are clearly two very important factors in his philosophy, definitely not just clichés to which lip-service is paid. For example, he meets and greets all his incoming clients, and bids them farewell at the end of their trip. Apart from this being a pleasant, welcoming experience for his customers, Musaddiq sees it as vital in his constant efforts to improve Easy Travel’s client service. After all, arrivals and departures are excellent opportunities to get customer feedback, which is a highly valued tool in assessing the company’s performance.
For Musaddiq, however, merely making his clients ‘happy’ is not enough. While he gets huge satisfaction from the wide smiles on the faces of those returning from safaris, his goal is that they should find the experience ‘life-changing.’ A safari experience is about much more than the animals, and everything is done to ensure that visitors are introduced to the Tanzanian culture and that they have rewarding encounters with the Tanzanian people.
Musaddiq is keen to stress that the local people love to share their culture with visitors, but also that they love to learn from those visitors, too. This two-way exchange is one of the keys to an enriching African experience. Musaddiq is convinced that the successful creation and leadership of the Easy Travel team are key parts of the company’s achievements. Even with a staff of well over one hundred, Musaddiq sees the team as one big family: whether they are office staff, driver guides or porters taking clients’ luggage up Mount Kilimanjaro, he is determined that each of them will feel part of the ‘family’ and share in its successes.
“Tanzania is real Africa” says Musaddiq. He and his team at Easy Travel are determined that all clients experience it to the full. And that it changes their lives.
With a degree in Business and Accounting, as well as a Certificate in Management, Sayyedah is well-qualified to be in charge of the financial side of Easy Travel’s operation. She studied in Toronto and returned to Tanzania in 2006 after her graduation to start work with her father at Easy Travel.
In 2007, after her marriage to Musaddiq Gulamhussein, they moved from Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, to Arusha and started running the Easy Travel office there. In addition to looking after the complexities of Easy Travel’s financial operations, Sayyedah also has a more strategic role, always looking at ways of further strengthening and growing the company through a process of continuous improvements.
But Sayyedah emphasises that her contribution to the success of the company stretches much further than the day-to-day accounts or even financial strategy. One of the key tasks for her is to engage and motivate the people that work for her, constantly encouraging them to do better for themselves and – of course – their clients. She distinguishes Easy Travel from the many other tour operators by the company’s focus on a highly personalised service, with great importance placed on contact with the clients.
Her philosophy mirrors that of her husband, when she says: “We always ensure that, when we make a tour for a customer, there is some sort of life-changing experience … something that they will remember, maybe visiting an orphanage.”
She acknowledges that many companies offer the same tours; the wildlife is the same, the National Parks are the same. But it is the personal service and this determination to change people’s lives that sets Easy Travel apart from its competitors.