For some reasons; I’m super doper excited about this week travelers tales guest. She’s one of the people I’ve been admiring from afar in this industry. She’s doing a great job and I’m so glad I finally get to ask her all the questions on my mind.

Don’t worry guys! I’m not selfish; I asked the questions for all of us.

I’ve also written about our brief encounter at Nigeria travel week. (Click the highlighted blue words to read).

Nnennaya Fakoya-Smith also known as Ajala Nene of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd is a tourism enthusiast, tourism promoter, tour broker, travel blogger and tourism business coach. She’s a mumpreneur and post card collector.

She has travelled to 15 countries within and outside Africa and will like to live in Seychelles because it’s peaceful and nature centric.

The travelers’ tales featuring Nnennaya Fakoya Smith of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd shows Ajala Nene talking about her brand; her biggest lesson ever since she started; what inspired her to choose the unsaturated part of the tourism business; her upcoming tourism boost camp workshop; how she handles been a mumpreneur and so many other things.

I had a great time putting this together, I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Kindly tell us about your brand

Nnoo! Ekabo! Sannu! My name is Nnennaya Fakoya-Smith also known as Ajala Nene.

My brand, Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd is an indigenous Tourism Brokerage Firm that creates ‘Life Changing Travel Experiences’ through promoting tourism events and package. We also encourage practicing Sustainable Tourism as a tool to maximize impact on the environment, society, economy and the local communities. Our goal is to make an impact, no matter how small, in the lives of people and communities of tourist destinations in Nigeria, Africa and the World.

Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd provides the following services:

(1) Organizing tourism events such as volunteer activities, workshops, seminars, fairs, e.t.c. This is to educate travel and tourism enthusiasts and the general public on the benefits of practicing Sustainable Tourism and being a Responsible Traveller;

(2) Marketing and selling both local and international tours that promote local-content and sustainability;

(3) Collaborating and building partnerships with both public and private organizations, government agencies and individuals who have similar objectives in creating awareness into the possible and lasting benefits of tourism.

How many places have you traveled to and which of this places will you like to live forever. And why?

I have traveled to over 15 countries within and outside Africa. I will like to live in Seychelles because it very “nature-centric”  and peaceful.

The travelers’ tales featuring Nnennaya Fakoya Smith of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd

 You’re a tour promoter and that’s really unique because it’s a market that is unsaturated and untapped in the Nigeria tourism. What inspired this?

When I wanted to start my tourism business, becoming a Tour Operator was my plan. But two things held me…I am not really good at packaging tours (I keep saying it’s not my calling!) and I also noticed that there were already a lot of local tour operators springing up. So I thought about how I could add value in my own way in the industry. I decided that since I love what my fellow tour operators are doing, why not have a platform to help market them? That’s how it all started. From there, I also started partnering with my fellow tourism enthusiasts to organize events that promote tourism in Nigeria and Africa.

 Ever since you started; what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

That patience is a virtue! Lol! Unless you have passion for the tourism industry, you might not last if you are in it for the money. Consistency is what pays off. Another thing I have learned is “valuing your relationships”. Collaboration is the new competition! People are your greatest asset in this industry or in any industry you find yourself. So value each and every one of them.

 I have watched videos of events you talked about postcards. Can you kindly share your knowledge on postcards with us and how important it is to the travel industry? 

The travelers’ tales featuring Nnennaya Fakoya Smith of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd

My dad inspired my love for postcards. His job required that he traveled a lot, and most times he would send us postcards when he was in any of these countries. I was always excited to receive and read them. I loved the fact that these postcards were handwritten by my dad and that they were from “far away countries” that I had never been to then.

One of the nostalgic experiences postcards gives is the act of sending and receiving postcards from friends and families from far and near. Postcards connect people in a special way because its a ‘hardcopy’ memory one can refer to time without number especially in this digital era. It also helps to tell stories of other’s culture which in turn encourages cultural exchange. In 2014, I joined an online community called Postcrossing.com where postcard lovers from all over  the world send each other postcards. I just love the fact that I can share my country and culture with others through handwritten postcards. So for me, postcard is a Tourism Destination marketing tool that can be used to promote a country’s cultural heritage.

Whenever I hear your name; I picture innovative thinker almost all the time lol. And obviously you’re one. You have an upcoming tourism boost camp workshop to  teach people the business of tourism. The idea behind the workshop is great and I have really been looking forward to workshops like this.  What prompted this great idea? And why must people attend workshops on the business of tourism.

@ innovative thinker – Lol! Aren’t we all are? *wink*

Well, to answer your question, I noticed that anytime I am invited for speaking engagement, people would ask me if I did training for people who wanted to start their own Tourism Business. So I got to work and decided to host our first ever Tourism Boost Workshop. The workshop is for ‘serious minded people’ who genuinely want to start their own Tourism Business. I say serious because like I previously said, if you are coming into this industry for the money only you would get frustrated. So the workshop is for people who have passion for the Tourism industry and want to add their own quota and of course eventually make money. The workshop includes experts in the Nigerian Tourism industry, Branding/Marketing and Vision Building field. It holds on September 1st, 2018 at ATTWON Creative Hub in Yaba, Lagos. Anyone that is interested can click on this link to register:  http://bit.ly/TourismBoostWorkshop

The travelers’ tales featuring Nnennaya Fakoya Smith of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd

 You’re a mumpreneur; or should I say super mom?
How do you handle being a mum and the stress that comes with been an entrepreneur especially the industry you’re working in? 

Ah! I love this question! @ super mom – Oh how I wish!!! LOL!

The truth is it hasn’t been easy balancing a young family and working from home. But I am grateful for the awesome support system I have around me. I find joy working from home because it allows me to have more time with my children and at the same time do what I love. For me, its important my children see what mummy is doing so that they can be inspired to start their own business when they are ready. At the end of the day, being a Mumpreneur is about finding what works for you and how you decided to balance being a mother and and wife too! *smiles*

The travelers’ tales featuring Nnennaya Fakoya Smith of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd

 No doubt; the Nigeria travel industry has come far; but change is a constant and necessary thing. What do you think the industry should be improved on? 

So many things need improvement. Social Infrastructures such as good roads, constant electricity and basic amenities need to be looked into by the government. Without them, Tourism cannot thrive to the capacity we need it to. Security and proper rules and regulations guiding the industry are also crucial. Then, we in the industry need to do less talking and more actions in our own little way. We don’t need to wait for the government to promote Nigeria. Let’s continue to share and sell the positive side of our nation and make our own little impact to improve the industry.

What advise will you give to intending travelers? 

Explore every corner of the world as much as you can! Life is only lived once. As Helen Keller said “Life is a daring adventure or nothing”. So explore it! And as you do so, be a Responsible Traveller. Leave footprints of positive impact in every land you go, no matter how small.

 How rewarding is traveling?

Very very rewarding! Travelling opens your mind! It enables you to understand others who are not like you. And the beautiful thing about traveling is that you don’t have to go far to explore. You can explore within your city, town, village and community and still learn a lot! Just explore with an open mind and you would see the reward of traveling.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in you. Sail, Explore, Dream, Discover” Mark Twain 

Thank you Ajala Nene for such an enlightening interview. You can get social with her on Instagram Ajalanene and her business page Neneuwa.

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