As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to travel. The wanderlust bug bit me probably while I was still in my mother’s womb (as she’s also traveled a lot). I had an intense need, not just to see new people and places, but also to interact with cultures. Taking a course in Anthropology while at University made the desire to travel even more intense.
I finally did travel and at 17 years old, I visited a country in South-East Asia. It was a huge surprise that for the entire time I was there (roughly two weeks), I did not see a single African person. Not even one. As a matter of fact, I was the first African many people were seeing. I had on braids then and I remember going to the beach for a swim one morning and some boys came uncomfortably close to me. I watched them, feeling quite tense until I realized they were fascinated with my hair. They had never seen braided here before.
Is there really a black travel movement?
The general belief is that Black people do not travel, and it could be that there was some truth to this, ten or twenty years ago. As Evita Robinson, CEO and creator of travel community Nomadness Travel Tribe was quoted in a CNN article, “There has always been a stereotype that people of color don’t travel — or if they do, that they’ll go to the Caribbean or Miami.” However, the reality today is very different. People of colour and Africans do travel.
As a Nigerian, when I read that Black people do not travel, it just makes me smile. There is a saying in our country that if you go to any part of the world and do not find a single Nigerian there, then there is something terribly wrong with the people in that place. It just means that Nigerians travel a lot. It is not surprising therefore that the Tourism Minister of Mauritius is focusing their efforts on Nigeria.
Mauritius has always been a tourist destination and the report is that in the first half of this year, 22 percent of the tourists to visit the country were from the continent. This is not surprising really, and once they are able to get into the Nigerian market and get Nigerians to see the country as a viable vacation spot, the numbers will only increase.
I think the ‘Black travel Movement’ is not really that more black people are traveling, but more about documenting their travels. And thanks to social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, we don’t need the mass media to tell us where to go or how to go about it.
If you love to travel, we should get together and plan a trip to Mauritius. 🙂