Travelling is in my blood

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    Chris Goldring

    How did you get there?

    I spent some time when I was younger travelling around South Africa and that’s where I met my current business partner, Greg. Greg shared my passion for travelling – his great-grandfather was one of South Africa’s original explorers so you could say it’s in our blood.

    What qualifications do you have?

    I hold a degree in Management Science and a Masters in Computing and Information Systems. This background was hugely useful in helping me build Mahlatini.com at a time when the travel industry wasn’t online.

    What was your first job?

    I was a programmer for National Australia Group.

    What do you attribute your success to?

    I have an entrepreneurial spirit, I’m not afraid to take risks and I’d describe myself as an innovator.

    How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

    I like to think I’m a positive, unassuming and friendly chap.

    Who do you look up to in business?

    Ben Fogle, he’s an intrepid explorer but he’s also a shrewd businessman. I admire anyone who is able to combine their passions and turn it into a successful business.

    How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

    Leading by example.

    If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

    Corporation Tax.

    What website or app could you not do without?

    Mahlatini.com

    What was the last book you read?

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It’s a science fiction novel set in 2044.

    What car do you drive?

    In my dreams, a Maserati.

    Greatest passion outside of work and family?

    Playing golf, gourmet food and travelling – ideally on a family holiday combining all three.

    Do you have a typical working day?

    In my line of work there’s no such thing as typical. We’re a locally based business, but one with a global customer base and network. We’re expanding our team and have plans to open a sales office in Cape Town later this year, so currently my focus is on the recruitment drive and getting the new office up and running.

    What skills do you think are required to do your job?

    Organisational skills, numeracy (to keep on top of finance) general staff management and the ability to multi-task.

    What’s the best thing about your job?

    Our destinations are some of the most unspoilt, awe-inspiring locations in the world – we specialise in high end travel which generally means a low tourist density. I’m very privileged to get to explore these untouched paradises and experience the amazing wildlife up close.

    What is the worst thing about your job?

    Dealing with the challenges and repercussions of unforeseen circumstances, such as extreme weather. Our destinations involve much more travel complexity than just a direct flight. When airline schedules are impacted it has a knock-on effect and can cause significant disruption for our clients’ trip. We often need to pull out all the stops to resolve any issues and ensure their precious holiday time is not wasted.

    What are the greatest challenges of your role?

    Many of our destinations have strict government policies on tourism numbers – it can be challenging sometimes to get availability for clients especially if they plan to travel in the near future.

    What did you want to be when you were at school?

    Ideally a golf pro on tour and winning the Masters. Realistically, I always saw myself running my own business.

    What advice would you give to someone starting out in their career?

    Don’t be afraid to explore an unconventional route.

    If you want to be your own boss, be prepared to take calculated risks and work hard. Very hard.

    What’s the most common question people ask when they find out what you do?

    Is it safe to travel to Africa? Despite common perceptions, south eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands are some of the safest places to visit in the world.

    We send families with young kids on safari in very remote locations with total peace of mind.

    How do you like to relax outside work?

    Playing golf, gourmet food and travelling – ideally on a family holiday combining all three.