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Sci-Tech

November 28, 2016
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Bon voyage

Wouldn't it be great if you could take a break from your hectic life and go on a trip without the hassle of all the planning? Well there might be people willing to shoulder this responsibility and give you a great vacation at 'Find My Adventure'.

Pakistan's first travel portal 'Find My Adventure' has been designed to bring all possible 'adventures' in Pakistan in one place.

FindMyAdventure.pk is run by a group of educated young entrepreneurs and co-founders of this travel portal: Komail Naqvi (LUMS Class of 2015); Haider Raza (LUMS Class of 2014); Khawaja Raza (LUMS Class of 2015); Shozab Naqvi (LUMS Class of 2008) and Husnain Malik (LUMS Class of 2014), along with Ali Yousuf (GIKI Class of 2015).

Komail Naqvi of FindMyAdventure.pk answered some questions regarding this project.

Q: What is a group of LUMS/GIKI graduates doing running a travel portal?

KN: Borne of our passion for Pakistan and the wanderlust sparked by our time at university, we set out to revolutionise Pakistan’s tourism industry by creating a unique product to serve as a one-stop solution for travel enthusiasts in the country.

When we graduated from university, we all struck out into well established, conventional and secure professions; between us we landed roles as fast track MTs, managers at prominent multinationals, investment banking analysts and even CSS cleared aspiring bureaucrats.

However, as we settled into our jobs, we collectively felt that something was missing not only from our personal and professional development but also from our sense of fulfilment. As ambitious, wildly goal-oriented and driven individuals we just could not come to terms with leading the 9-5 routine for the rest of our lives. We wanted to be part of something bigger, to blaze our own trail (even if that meant running the risk of going down in flames) and to do more with our lives than to just be another inconsequential cog in another corporate wheel. And here we are.

Q: What is your vision with FindMyAdventure.pk?

KN: The founding members of FindMyAdventure.pk are committed to portraying Pakistan in a positive light by enabling access to Pakistan’s vibrant cultures and fascinating landscapes with the rest of the world. We consider cultural sensitivity, social responsibility and ecological awareness to be of paramount importance and strive to ensure that any and all activities conducted by our platform aspire to the highest levels of professionalism.

Q: Can you elaborate on what a travel portal is and how it works?

KN: FindMyAdventure is Pakistan's first online marketplace for travel enthusiasts.

How does it work? It's simple.

FindMyAdventure lets you search, compare, select and book trips all across Pakistan from one simple web app/portal.

You can search locations, and tours, check reviews and opinions and compare prices instantly to help decide where, when and how to go.

You can also use our 'Make My Adventure' tool to plan and book your perfect trip - completely customised for your individual preferences.

Q: The name - Find My Adventure - is so exciting. What exciting things do you offer?

KN: We're glad you like the name! FindMyAdventure offers a broad range of activities ranging from treks and tours aimed at adventure buffs - scuba diving, jet-skiing, paragliding, winter survival treks etc - to more relaxing packages designed for users who are just looking to kick back and relax - cultural sightseeing, family packages and holiday retreats etc.

There's a trip for everyone on FindMyAdventure!

Q: In a country which is considered dangerous for tourists, especially foreigners, why would you pick the most 'risky' business?

KN: We, the cofounders of FindMyAdventure.pk, have always been passionate about Pakistan and strongly believe that our country has a lot to offer tourists - both domestic and foreign. And although we do realise that Pakistan has an image problem we also recognise that our country is more than just a summation of news headlines.

Therefore, although the Pakistani tourism industry has seen fairly volatile crests and troughs since the turn of the century, the past few years have seen a fairly stable uptick in the industry’s prospects. In fact, with strengthening socioeconomic ties with China, a bettering security situation across major metropolises and much of the rural countryside, it stands to reason that one may expect good things for the industry in the upcoming years.

So, we don't think that the tourism industry is as risky as it once was and the overwhelming support we have received from home and abroad is testament to the significant progress it has made over the past few years.

Q: What do you offer that others don't?

KN: We offer convenience, reliability, a broad range of options and complete transparency.

As an aggregator that has listings from all over the country we enable our users to search, compare, book and pay for trips from their laptops or cell phones. We not only give access to a very broad range of trips and activities but are also looking to serve as a user driven platform for reviews and discussions for travel enthusiasts.

As a one stop solution for tourism in Pakistan we cater to any and all requirements of the average traveller from end-to-end, thereby providing a service that is not on offer anywhere else in the market.

Q: How do you convince people to come Pakistan?

KN: Surprisingly, we don't have a lot of convincing to do! There is a staggering level of demand for tourism in Pakistan - something that is not advertised enough about the country. We've had people get in touch from all over the world and all across Pakistan to book trips, suggest improvements and even just tell us how thrilled they are that something like this has been introduced in Pakistan. So, we have our work cut out for us; the beauty of Pakistan's landscapes, the richness of its cultures and welcoming hospitality of our people has done the convincing for us.

Even so, we put out videos, images and stories about travel and tourism in Pakistan and these have all been very well received.

Q: How is the response from Pakistan and abroad?

KN: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We have facilitated 750 unique travellers in a total of 70 trips over 3 months.

Furthermore, in just a few months we've already hosted multiple foreigners who reached out to us and it was very heartening to see them simply fall in love with Pakistan. The most consistent feedback we've received first hand from foreigners is that Pakistan is entirely different from what they'd previously read and imagined and that they would love to visit again.

In fact, we've also showcased a solo trip that one of our users (and now good friend) from England experienced when she visited Hunza with us in a video that we shall be releasing very soon.

Q: Where are you present and how do people approach you?

KN: Although we have offices in Lahore (Kickstart Co-working space) and Karachi (at the Nest i/o) we are present online which means that people can approach us from anywhere at all. We're just a few clicks away at www.findmyadventure.pk or available at [email protected]

You can also get in touch with us at the following phone number: 0333-3556524, 0340-9543543.

Q: Which is the most responsive area in Pakistan?

KN: At the moment, we’ve received a great response from trips in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan.

Q: Interestingly, you offer trips for the internal trips of Karachi city, what's the response to that?

KN: The response for the internal trips was a bit slow in the beginning but then they picked up pace and now we’re getting a phenomenal response for trips in Karachi itself.

Q: Balochistan has recently been in the news for many deadly incidents, has that affected business? And this also brings the issue of security nationwide into focus, how do you deal with that since the country has continuous ups and downs with terrorism?

KN: Regrettable as such disruptive incidents are, in our experience these have largely proven to be isolated events that do not significantly impact demand for trips to Balochistan; we have booked trips for quieter areas of Balochistan for hundreds of individuals already and the Makran Coastal Highway remains a key driver of demand in the local tourism industry.

Furthermore, we are heartened by the response we have received from the general public whereby we have had the privilege of booking trips for clients from a broad spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds with ages ranging from teenagers and young adults to senior citizens. Their unflagging demand for trips, not just to Balochistan, but all across Pakistan has been very encouraging indeed.

Moreover, another key metric by which we assess perceptions of security is that the male to female ratio of our clientele is fairly evenly split down the middle and it is a welcome surprise to see an increasing number of women reaching out to travel through us in group tours and solo trips. Hence, we feel that the fact that our women are challenging negative stereotypes about the country's security situation really indicates a tectonic shift in how comfortable the average Pakistani is when it comes to travelling across the country.

Q: The Island package seems intriguing - what do you offer in this?

KN: So the Island package is a mix of many exciting activities. You can choose from Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Cliff Diving and different other watersports.

And you could also plan an overnight camping trip to one of these islands.

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