This article has been crossposted from Firnas.org.
Inspired by his personal struggle with finding out about outdoor activities in Jeddah, Anmar Fathaldin decided to launch Lammt (get together in Arabic), a website that features activities and events happening in the city. He hopes that using Lammt, young people and families will be able to explore their city and country in new ways, through camping, cruising, or other activities.
Despite the fact that the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Activities does feature events happening in the Kingdom, these tend to be touristy activities, like visiting museums and checking out historical sites. Lammt, using the slogan ‘there is no place for boredom’, focuses more on entertainment activities. The site works with outdoor activity and entertainment providers to list their events, and then sells tickets, sometimes at a discounted rate.
When we sat down with co-founder Fathaldin, who is also the cofounder of UTURN, Jeddah Comedy Club, and Hype Digital Media Services, he told us that he got the idea back in January. The team, which includes Omar Hussein Alkahly, Mohammed Nahhas, Talal Al-Asmari, and Yazeed Sewailem, started working on it in February, and launched in June.
To buy an activity, users create an account on the platform providing a local phone number to confirm their place of residency. They can pay using five different methods: credit card (Visa or MasterCard), PayPal, bank transfer, point of sale, or by requesting a representative to come and collect the money for an additional 50 Saudi riyals (around $14 USD.)
At the beginning, Lammt relied on personal investment from its partners and taking commission from sales generated by the platform. The prices on the site were similar to those provided by the merchant and sometimes cheaper, which helped the company grow a loyal user base, says Fathaldin. When asked how they scouted for deals on the site, Fathaldin revealed that research, relationships, and previous experiences helped them close deals.
“We are still at the beginning and facing obstacles that have not been solved yet,” says Fathaldin. “But we will overcome them inshallah. The most important obstacle is that Saudis prefer to buy a paper ticket and talk to a person face to face than purchasing services online. Add to that, the fact that tourism is one of the most underdeveloped industries in Saudi Arabia.”
To combat this, Fathaldin wants to expand Lammt beyond Saudi, to countries in the Arab region where tourism is more developed – and quickly growing.