Tourism has been described as Nigeria’s “untapped goldmine”, “a hidden cash cow”, and a “veritable replacement for oil” a.k.a. the black gold according to augusto.com.
Nigeria has, however, upheld an inflexible approach that narrowly defines tourism as arts and culture, leaving areas like nature and conservation receiving barely, if any, attention.
Destine Chisom Caius, a travel blogger, who is known as Dee to her friends, has taken it upon herself to do as much as she can to bring these areas into the limelight. Her goal is to visit all 37 states of the federation. So far, the graduate of the Department of Architecture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka has visited 18 states.
Destine’s passion shines through as she speaks of her journey to bring the best Nigerian tourist attractions to Nigerians and the world.
How did you get started?
I started documenting my travels in the early months of 2020 after a trip to Cotonou. My first trip as a travel blogger was to Zuma Rock, Niger State. I was in Abuja at the time, visiting family. I talked to a friend who also loved checking out new places and he was open to the idea of a road trip and boom…
What did you hope to achieve when you started?
The goal is to show Nigerians and the world how beautiful Nigeria is, and also encourage Nigerians to travel more, check out their surroundings, and appreciate it more.
Another goal though is to visit all 54 countries in Africa, and then move on to the other continents of the world.
How would you assess your journey thus far?
So far, I’d say I’ve influenced people to go to new places and do something new more often, and that alone is success in itself.
The novel Coronavirus pandemic majorly reduced travel into Nigeria. This is a sector that was already suffering due to insecurity, infrastructural challenges, etc. What’s your assessment of the tourism industry in Nigeria?
I’d say Nigeria is very beautiful and we have so many tourist attractions, but they’re not maintained at all. We’re still a long long way from perfect and there’s a lot of money to be made. But I don’t think the government is seeing it.
What are your thoughts regarding opinions that it is a sector that could help fix/improve the country’s image within and abroad?
I totally agree. The tourism market is huge in Nigeria. We Nigerians love to travel, visit new places, just not within Nigeria. If the infrastructure is put in place and the insecurity issues tackled, I think Nigeria would attract a lot of tourists/foreign investors.
Do you think it can become the next money-spinner for the country? If so, how?
Yes of course. Foreigners, Nigerians in the diaspora, and even Nigerians at home are more than willing to invest in the tourism sector if only the government can handle their part (insecurity in the country).
How do you handle any negatives associated with any of your featured locations/brands etc? (insecurity, bad reputation, etc.)
So far, I haven’t encountered any particular negatives. Going to new places, I always try to keep an open mind. Also, I try to dress to suit the beliefs of the people of the part of the country to avoid hostility from the locals. I try to get to wherever I’m going on time because in as much as Nigerians are good people, there are still bad ones.
What informs the types of brands you partner with?
I partner with clothing brands, Hotels, Travel agencies, Airlines, tourist attractions, and businesses who would love their spaces advertised.
Do you see technological advancements, for example, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, etc. that are developing rapidly to give people a kind of travel experience from the safety of their homes, as a threat to what you do?
Nothing. Nothing beats being there in person.
What are the benefits, opportunities, or drawbacks of being a travel and lifestyle blogger?
I’d say, meeting new wonderful people, learning new cultures, the views… it changed how I see the world really.
How do you fund your travels?
Basically, it’s work, save, travel, rinse and repeat. I plan solo trips, state tours, couples’ vacations, family vacations, and group trips within Nigeria (for now). We’d go international soon. Also, I accommodate paid ads for Hotel brands, clothing brands, Airlines, Transportation brands, etc.
What is on your bucket list of places to go to/feature?
This list is very long but I want to visit Yankari Games Reserve, La Campagne Tropicana, Kenya, Zambia, and Rwanda.
What does it mean to be a female traveler and travel blogger?
It means enlightenment, peace of mind. It changed my perspective of life.
How do you make what you do unique, different from competitors?
I show you a place through my eyes. If it’s beautiful to me, I’d make you fall in love with it, make you want to visit.
“You have to love it first. The rest would come naturally.”-Destine Chisom Caius.