US-based Nigerian travel expert and founder of a travel outfit known as Jetblack Travel, Dr Alexander Oladele has expressed optimism for the travel and tourism industry after having been left spreadeagled by the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.
Oladele made his opinion known based on his experience as a travel expert in recent interview, highlighting realities that may ensue in the post Coronavirus pandemic era.
According to him, the travel and tourism industry is the worst hit by the pandemic, nonetheless, he is of the optimism it will bounce back bigger and better.
He said, “Covid-19 presents the global economy with a very interesting situation that may change what we previously perceived as normal. Quite frankly, I believe that the industry that will be affected the most is travel and tourism just because the issue that we are currently experiencing at the core came from travel and how we moved around the globe. Because of this, changes in both domestic and international policy for travel may be modified in ways that were not previously seen.
“What I foresee is an acute increase in airline prices, where traveling becomes more of a luxury for the majority than it was previously. Overall, I believe that this will resolve long term but immediately following this pandemic, there will be an elevation in ticket prices. In addition, obtaining visas may be more of a stringent process to fully ensure that the right person is indeed traveling.
”I have friends that had to hop leaps and bounds to obtain their visas to certain countries, but this pandemic may make this process a lot more difficult. Lastly, I believe that another change which is likely are travel cards that grants each traveler permission to move around if they satisfy certain requirements. While these changes do seem drastic and completely different from what we’ve seen, I think to expect things to be the same is a bit ludicrous. The truth is that no one will know until these potential modifications are in fact implemented but I think it’s safe to say that there will be some sort of change.”
On how his company is coping with the pandemic, he said, “JetBlack Travel is coping as best as we can. This has been a tough year for us and other travel organizations. The travel and tourism industry took one of the hardest hits from Covid 19, so many trips had to be cancelled. For our company in particular, we did not cancel any of our trips, but postponed it to the same dates for 2021.
“It’s a bit difficult to all around cancel a trip especially when major purchases have been made. There are 5 trips in total that we’ve moved to 2021 and as of now, we still have 2 more trips that are slated to take place at the end of this year. These trips are South Africa & Ghana, which, we are hoping can still take place in November and December.”
JetBlack Travel Group was primarily founded with a view to provide more opportunity to African Americans to gain exposure to countries all over the world by way of group travel. The company was founded in 2018 and now curates trips and life-changing experiences for anyone interested in immersing themselves and learning about cultures outside of the US. The vision, was primarily for Black Americans but it has since been bought into from people all over the world.
JetBlack Travel Group was founded in September 2018 with a group of 52 minority professionals taking on a culturally immersive travel experience to Havana, Cuba.
Following Cuba, they visited Medellin, Colombia with 45 professionals in early 2019 by working in close collaboration with Reseau Docteur, a well known minority professional network where most of the travelers came from. To date, they have organized trips to Cuba, Colombia, Jamaica, South Africa and Ghana.
In 2020, they have countries they are supposed to visit with half of those trips being sold out. Some of those countries include Bali, France, Morocco, Spain, Thailand, Brazil, South Africa and Ghana. But the pandemic has put paid to the plans.
“Between all of our trips for this year, we were supposed to take over 100 people around the world. Just for Bali, Indonesia alone, we had 33 guests that we curated this trip for. Of the 33 people, 28 will be moving forward with the trip next year and we anticipate that there will be more interests as we get closer . One of the things that we have noticed is consistent among all our groups is the excitement to travel again.
“Although our travelers were initially disappointed about the trip being postponed, many of them have mentioned that this experience and lock down would make everything that much more worth it when we do travel. As a company, JetBlack Travel has also changed many of the items we provide to our travelers as part of their gift bags. We now include face masks as well as other sanitization items to ensure that everyone is keeping clean while traveling abroad,” he said.