Gerald Samuel Duia, founder of Duia Trailblazers based in Shillong, Meghalaya is a pioneer of Sustainable Tourism. Having a Master’s Degree in the subject, he was eager to explore the beauty of his homeland. He spent nine years as a local tour guide, delving into the heart of Meghalaya, meeting diverse communities, & immersing himself in their traditions. In 2018, Gerald took the plunge and founded “Duia Trailblazers” which was set to offer specialized eco-rural tours, culture & heritage expeditions & thrilling adventures – all carefully curated to provide a handful of travellers with meaningful and authentic experiences.
Leading a tourism agency comes with challenges. Gerald hopes to see more of the essential amenities for tourists such as public toilets, ATMs and reliable connectivity in all villages of the state. He also sees the scarcity of infrastructure particularly accommodations in remote villages as a major obstacle while catering to large groups of visitors. He hopes that with the help of the government, all these shortfalls can be fixed.
His dedication to uplifting grassroots communities & empowering them through tourism was recognized when he stumbled upon an advertisement for the Chief Minister’s E-Championship Challenge in 2019. This fortunate event led him to PRIME where his startup was incubated for one year. The boot camps, Trainings and mentorship from experts were instrumental, especially during the challenging times brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Gerald also availed free working space at PRIME, Shillong where his team is based even till today.
In 2022, Gerald applied for the Training Centre Programme, aiming to train the youth of Meghalaya in outdoor adventure, hospitality & soft skills. This initiative would provide employment opportunities locally & boost the region’s economy.
His vision is to offer travellers a chance to explore the lesser-known wonders of the state while preserving its environment & culture for future generations.
As he reflects on his journey, Gerald has a message:
“You need dedication & passion for what you love. There will be hurdles, but perseverance will guide you through.“
Planning, Investment Promotion & Sustainable Development Department, Government of Meghalaya,