In spite of many negative stories being peddled about Africa to the world, there is an undying desire by many African Americans who live in the United States of America to see the continent. At least this is the candid opinion of a US-based travel group JetBlack Travel Group founded by a Nigerian, Dr. Alexander Oladele.
He said: “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.”
JetBlack Travel Group was primarily founded with a view to providing 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 been bought into by people all over the world.
“Interest in African countries is growing and in fact, is the focus for 2021 for our company. 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. We would like to expose more people, in particular, African Americans, to countries outside the US. I think the importance of traveling is something that we all can agree to. JetBlack Travel aims to be the vehicle that provides these experiences to everyone interested in venturing into other parts of the world,” added Oladele.
Speaking further in a WhatsApp chat with our reporter, Oladele posited that the negative stories circulating about Africa have had little or no deterrent effect, saying one should not believe stories about countries one had never visited before.
“One of the most shocking things for me is how kind people truly are when you travel abroad. There is a lot of apprehension when traveling internationally overall and I think a lot of that has to do with what we’ve been taught about particular countries. When you get to those countries you oftentimes find that many of the things you were told are simply not true. A prime example of this is Cuba. Prior to going to Cuba, I had a preconceived notion that it was a dangerous country and that, they hated Americans. The first time I went to Cuba I was met with so much love from members of the Cuban community. Because of that one experience I came back twice and one of those times was with 52 professionals. It was truly a remarkable experience,” he said.
He said JetBlack Travel Group was founded in September 2018 with a group of 52 minority professionals taken on a culturally immersive travel experience to Havana, Cuba. “This was done with the help of Mr. Nicholas Owen who helped connect us with key contacts both in Cuba as well as Colombia. Following Cuba, we 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 we have organized trips to Cuba, Colombia, Jamaica, South Africa and Ghana For 2020, we have countries we are visiting with half of those trips being sold out. Some of those countries include Bali, which to our surprise sold out in four days, France, Morocco, Spain, Thailand, Brazil, South Africa and Ghana. The goal of JetBlack Travel is to curate life-changing travel experiences for members of the global community. We have a team dedicated to helping us execute our trips. The beauty of everything is that many of these individuals don't live in the States," Oladele added.