Many tales told by the people of Ethiopia give the hyena the face of a dangerous predator. Not well served by its appearance, the animal is known for its unfriendliness and that cunning gaze that will make you shiver. Beneath its bent neck and limp leg lie the stories of a wild animal that is attached to demons and all that is evil. The mention of his name and echoing giggle undoubtedly conjure up images of something perfectly terrifying since it is also depicted as the devil's horse among the residents of Harare.
At the age of 20, Hyena Man not only has managed to tame the unfriendly in the walled city of Harare but has broken the taboo of associating with hyenas. 21 years have gone by since his family settled on making a living feeding these inhospitable wild animals. I shouldn't go putting ideas in your head. This business concept is followed by a grave “Don't try this at home” advice. But you can definitely be one of the many tourists who travel to Harare to visit this spectacular man to witness and be a part of the whole intriguing process. This young man is following in his father's footsteps, who now has moved into the business of farming, feeding by hand pieces of raw meat to a pack of wild animals outside the city of Harare in the pitch black of night. Peculiar you think?
Peter J. Burns III, an American entrepreneur, was not mere peculiarity he saw when he first set eyes on this amazing incident. The thought that was racing through his mind was how to turn this into a more lucrative business with increased number of tourists. Although he decided to sit in the car and witness the hyena feeding from a safe distance during his first visit, inquisitiveness got the best of him and it wasn't long before he was on the ground handing pieces of raw meat to the pack of hyenas there. Driven by a moment's braveness or complete foolishness, tourists like Peter are the hyena man's customers. Hyena Man solely relies on word of mouth to get customers every night. The nights he goes out to feed the hyenas all alone, for lack of visitors, are not few. Peter first had the chance to visit the city of Harare on behalf of his NGO,
International Medical corps, as he was going there to see their operations. While he was there for three or four days, he had a chance to tour the wonderful walled city and take in what had to be the most unusual activity for a tourist he has ever seen in his life. As someone who is one of the founding members of largest international network of entrepreneurs (YEO) and whose entrepreneurship skills are remarkably honed with several years of experience, Peter's initial seeds of thought were geared towards creating an ever more substantial income for the young man. Teaming up with the tour operator who was showing him through the wonders of Harare, Peter came up with a fascinating idea.
The idea centred on creating a tourist package in collaboration with the 14 registered tour guides in Harare and existing tour operators worldwide. Travel agents in Ethiopia and abroad would include a trip to see the hyena man for all tourists who plan to visit the country. This would also allow him to make use of the e-commerce trend, which is a relatively new concept in Ethiopia, book tours on websites and be conscious of the number of tourists he will be accommodating every night. The prepaid package would not only increase the number of tourists that would come to see the hyena man but put Ethiopia on the map as one of the most interesting countries with great wonders worth visiting.
Currently, an estimation of Getachew's revenue sums up to half a million birr a year. With tour guides in his partnership ensemble, Peter envisages to help the hyena man increase his profits fivefold. The rate for local and foreign tourists will go higher than what it is presently, roughly a 100 birr, in order to benefit travel agents which will be partaking in the tourist bringing process. This is a perfect example of using an existing Ethiopian business and turning it into a globally competitive tourist attraction event. Eventually, traditional business concepts will all be in vain and can't keep going for an extended period without embracing current trends and technologies. With the bold and original idea of the hyena man combined with an expatrepreneur's several years of experience, astonishing accomplishments in the tourism sector could soon become a reality.
Peter J. Burns III is an expatrepreneur who specializes in the establishment and operation of niche market replicable business enterprises. He is an innovative businessman who creates and implements many new concepts from the ground up.
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