By Ayo Onikoyi
US-based Nigerian packaged tours expert and founder of JetBlack Travel Group, Alexander Oladele, who has curated trips to many countries of the world has given an insight on why Nigeria is not a favourite tourist destination for tourists and travellers. Oladele has curated trips to countries like Ghana and South Africa but never to Nigeria even though he’s Nigerian by birth.
“I think there are logistical things that travelers have to be mindful of when traveling to Nigeria as against traveling to a country like Ghana. The airport for example. Oftentimes, just obtaining your luggage upon landing can prove to be difficult in Nigeria as opposed to Ghana. This can create frustration for many people and as you can imagine travelers. Ghana, on the other hand, is a bit different from what I experienced. The airport is very efficient and I didn’t notice too much of a difference compared to my domestic travels in the US. Another thing is interaction within the airport. I can get through with no problem because I know what to say and how to conduct myself when stopped in a Nigerian airport as a Nigerian. Travelers coming from abroad may not understand how to navigate that space so they can be stuck going back and forth with customs and other people within the airport. This isn’t the case for Ghana. Ultimately, I’m not saying it’s impossible to curate trips to Nigeria. With everything it’s all about knowing the right people so you can navigate easier,” he said in an interview with our reporter.
Speaking further, he stressed conditions under which Nigeria could come under their consideration as a travel destination, adding that there is actually a plan in place to include Nigeria in their itinerary soon.
He said, “I plan on curating trips to Nigeria with help from the right partners. We initially began with large group trips around 45-50 people but scaled down and only travel with 20 people now. Nigeria is a place where you have to have a lot of things in place logistically to ensure that the travelers have a great experience. I’m not opposed to it, I just have to feel confident that the experience we will provide the travelers is worth it, which I believe comes with knowing the right people.”
Alexander Oladele who has a doctorate degree in pharmacy from Howard University, Washington D.C. founded JetBlack Travel Group in 2018 alongside some friends. He was inspired by the need for more African Americans to gain exposure to countries all over the world by way of group travel. Jetblack Travel Group now curates trips and life-changing experiences for anyone interested in immersing themselves and learning about cultures outside of the US. Jetblack Travel Group has curated trips to countries like Ghana, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, Bali, Colombia, Cuba Thailand and Jamaica.
Speaking more about the JetBlack Travel experience, he added, “One of the reasons that makes it possible to do all this is understanding the value of relationships. We typically take people to countries we’ve never been before as a team but because we know people in those countries or people who know people in that area, we are able to curate a wide range of activities for our travelers all by networking. The goal overall is to continue our efforts in curating life-changing experiences for members of the global community. We all know the importance of traveling; but rather than talking about it, we want to become the travel agency that actually takes each traveler to the places they’ve dreamt of, to spark the light of self-discovery.
According to him, the searchlight is beginning to beam on the African continent as more and more African Americans are getting more curious to see the continent firsthand and learn the truth about it with their very eyes.
“There is a huge shift in knowing and learning more about Africa. It’s an exciting time that we are in and I believe social media has played a significant role in helping to shape that. There are so many people today interested in visiting Africa and learning the actual truth about the continent. As more people visit and share their experiences, it creates more desire in those aboard to really venture out to see what Africa truly entails, not just what they show us on TV. African countries are growing and in fact, is the focus for 2021. Remember we started late 2018 and have experienced significant growth. In 2021 however, we are intentionally focusing on African countries. Our goal is to curate trips to: Ghana, Nigeria (with the right partnerships), Senegal, Ethiopia, South Africa and Kenya/Zanzibar.