From the authentic stays of the Click & Trip agency to the online travel platform dedicated to surfing from the start-up Ridescope, via the island of Fanjove in Tanzania transformed into an ecolodge by Xavier Marie, the founder of Maisons du Monde , Loire-Atlantique has many entrepreneurs in the field of travel. As the summer season dawns, this week IJ completes its roundup of those companies that help you see the country.
Authentic travel with Click & Trip
Click & Trip is an ethical travel agency created in Pornic in 2016 by Mélina Droussé. “It aims to help tourists to travel differently, in a more authentic and responsible way, and to make them aware of the negative impact generated by traditional tourism”, specifies its founder. Indeed, the young woman was marked by a bad experience: “I had the opportunity to make an all-inclusive stay in Morocco but I was frustrated not to have discovered the “real” Morocco. I don’t see the point of arriving in a hotel where we offer the same activities as in France, the same food as at home…”
When she was 18, Mélina Droussé then decided to travel on her own: Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Caribbean… “That’s when I discovered travel in a different way. I took full advantage of my stay through the meetings of the locals that I made thanks to my drivers. And being able to get lost on the spot was also a very good way to discover a destination. »
It is this “apart” way of traveling that Mélina Droussé wanted to offer her customers: “Depending on the destination and the request of the customers, I will direct them to one of the 40 local travel agencies of which I am a partner. and which are recognized structures. These direct most of my clients to French-speaking drivers to allow them to get off the beaten track and discover the destination in an authentic way. »
In terms of its business model, Click & Trip does not operate like a traditional travel agency: “I get paid as a business contributor to the local travel agencies I work with. Alone to work in her agency, Mélina Droussé now accompanies an average of ten travelers per month. But she doesn’t intend to stop there: “Having won the Asartis prize at the Nantes Capsuccess competition last March, I benefit from the support of a mentor who helps me develop the agency. And I am also supported on all the digitization of the agency. »
Ridescope, the specialist in surf trips
An online travel platform dedicated to surfing, Ridescope was born in Nantes in 2021.an online travel agency specializing in private sales, Ed.), but we found that there was a lack of specialized offers, especially around surfing. So, we decided to join forces and co-found Ridescope. »
On the customer side, the start-up targets all types of surfers, from beginners to experienced, whether they are traveling alone, as a couple, with friends or family. “We are really generalists, continues the entrepreneur. Our ambition is to offer destinations that are suitable for as many people as possible, with as much information as possible on the spots as well as wave forecasts at D+10. We also offer last minute deals. “The agency also makes it a point of honor” to offer activities to the guides: yoga, hiking, skateboarding, discovering tourist sites…
Today, Ridescope offers its trips in about fifteen countries (France, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua…) and displays no less than fifty destinations. The business model of the start-up is the same as that of online travel agencies. “We first have an online distribution activity where we promote hotels, surf camps…, explains the co-founder. We are therefore remunerated as a business contributor by these structures. We also have the tourism production part, where we will support clients such as the Thalès group, the HEC school or the Nantes Accoord leisure centers by creating tailor-made trips for them. »
Still in development mode, the start-up, which has recorded more than €2 million in orders since its creation, intends to broaden its horizons: “We plan to deploy our offer within five years in other disciplines such as kitesurfing, wing or the foil, completes the co-founder. We also aim to multiply by ten the number of destinations within five years and to internationalize by opening the platform to foreigners. This is why we plan to raise funds by the end of the year. »
True to its values, the start-up also plays the environmental protection card to the fullest: “As tourism accounts for nearly 8% of global CO2, ten trees are planted for each trip booked. We also support the Surf Rider Foundation association and its action to protect the oceans. Two means of offsetting the impact of our activity and promoting a responsible lifestyle,” concludes Xavier Rousseau.
A chic bohemian stay on the paradise island of Fanjove
Eco-responsible tourism is also the niche chosen by Xavier Marie, founder of the Maisons du Monde brand, whose head office is in Vertou. Having handed over at the end of 2015, Xavier Marie then quickly invested in French fashion brands in difficulty or to be developed (Bompard, Maison Bonton, Rautureau). But the health crisis invites itself and comes to complicate the task. Victim of a burnout, he then decides to go on a trip to recharge his batteries. He came back with the idea of transforming the paradise island of Fanjove, off the coast of Tanzania, into an ecolodge. “Having grown up in Africa, I kept a passion for wildlife and preserved places,” says the entrepreneur. Eight years ago, I had the opportunity to realize a childhood dream by taking shares in a company that owned two safari lodges in authentic and wild Tanzanian reserves. It was agreed that I would become the sole shareholder five years later. At the same time, I bought the island of Fanjove where there was a small, very aging lodge. I had the objective of redoing these three lodges and creating a nice circuit…”
After eight months of work piloted remotely by Xavier Marie and his wife and several whirlwind trips on site, the ecolodge opened last November on this small bean-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, one kilometer long on 600m wide. “We provided the architecture and decoration ourselves,” explains the contractor. The island, which gives the feeling of being alone in the world, now has ten luxury villas of 110 m2, each overlooking the beach. They are decorated in a chic, cool and relaxed bohemian style, but there is still wifi. The island is also home to a 19th century lighthouse.e century that we have renovated and transformed into a restaurant. That is a total investment of approximately €6 million between the acquisition of the business from the previous operator (€2.5 million) and the works (€3.5 million). All carried by the holding of the interested party, the Marco Polo Company.
Work that allows the island to be self-sufficient in terms of energy: “We don’t use fossil fuels, confirms Xavier Marie. Electricity is supplied by a solar farm and stored by latest generation batteries. On the other hand, all the materials used for the construction of the villas are local and natural: coral stones, rafia, thatch, plantation wood…”
In terms of activities, the ecolodge offers snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, picnicking on a sandbank, not to mention the traditional water activities. Employing 35 employees from 95% of the archipelago, “Fanjove is more managed on a safari lodge model than a traditional hotel insofar as everything is included, including premium alcohols, wines and activities… around 800 € per night and per person. »
Although Fanjove’s activity got off to a slow start, “we have seen a strong acceleration in reservations in recent weeks for this summer”. Regarding a potential return on investment, Xavier Marie explains that “everything will depend on the percentage of occupancy after two years. If it is above 60%, it will go quite quickly. »
Beyond the return on investment, Xavier Marie has above all fully rediscovered the taste for entrepreneurship with this project: “We love this adventure with my wife. For my part, I have never been so passionate. It combines my experience of decoration, my passion for the wild world and my taste for the art of living and sharing. »
Moreover, the couple does not intend to stop there: “We are opening in December a lodge of mobile tents which will follow the great migration in the Serengeti National Park, still in Tanzania. These are tents that are both simple but with a luxurious service, in the spirit of the great safaris of the beginning of the century. This large gathering of herbivores, with its procession of predators that follow, is a unique spectacle in the world that you absolutely have to see once in your life! »