Nigerian Managing Director of a US-based travel outfit, JetBlack Travel Group, Alexander Oladele , has said that the travel and tourism industry, which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, will expand as more people would want to travel. Oladele made the assertion in a recent interview where he was speaking on the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy in general, and the travel and tourism industry in particular.
While admitting that the industry is the worst hit by the pandemic, The Jetblack MD is enthusiastic that the industry will bounce back with more possibilities.
According to him, “I believe that following the current pandemic, the travel, and tourism industry is going to expand with high enthusiasm for international travel. There certainly will be changes, in my opinion as I don’t believe that one can experience something of this magnitude without the ways in which we move around being altered. Despite this, however, we believe that interests for international travel and cultural immersion will remain high.”
He stressed that the travel and tourism industry will change but added he could not actually pinpoint in what way, adding that things can never be the way they used to be.
“No one can say what will happen or which changes may be implemented, but we do believe that change is coming. Although the zeal to travel may become high post-Covid 19, we may have a situation where prices are also elevated which would certainly limit the number of people that move around the globe,” he said.
“Travelers may also be required to show proof of vaccinations in order to engage in domestic or international travel. Safety precautions around air travel will be considered in a manner that has not been done before, and for good reason. We believe that all of these modifications are potential changes that may take place, but again no one will fully know until these changes occur,” he added.
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 providing more opportunities for 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,” Oladele said.
“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 lockdown 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.