Ambassador Nneka Isaac-Moses is an Entrepreneur, Destination Promoter, Tourism Consultant, ‘Top 100 women in tourism’ Awardee, a World Bank Scholar, Author and multiple award winning-Media Producer.  She focuses on tourism promotion and development, destination assessment, business strategy, sustainability, training and marketing within the Tourism Industry.
She is one-half of the twin brain behind the multiple award winning culture and travel TV programme, Goge Africa – a project she conceptualized and nurtured with her husband and business partner from inception and built into one of the most respected Tourism brands in Africa.
In this exclusive interview with Women Connect, she reveals  the inspiration behind the creation of Goge Africa and how she has managed to build a successful business over the years with her husband, Isaac Moses.
Tell us what inspired the creation of Goge Africa?
The beauty of Africa; our people, awesome destinations and the undiluted natural sceneries, wild life, mosaic of cultures and our rich heritage inspired us to start Goge Africa. We felt the need to tell our beautiful African stories ourselves.
How have you managed to build and maintain your brand over the years?
Goge Africa is an exciting project and we are very passionate and excited about the possibilities and value addition it offers to Africa.
So we had to stay focused. We managed the meager resources we had properly. We never tried to impress anyone by living beyond our means; that way, we contained our overhead in order to keep the business going. We never compromised on the quality of our delivery regardless of the amount paid by our clients, or even when the production is not funded. Above all, our resilience comes from our deep faith in God and His ability to make all things possible according to His will. So we just kept dreaming, acting on it and believing.
What mistakes have you made along the line and what did it teach you?
We did not monetize our project from the beginning so we suffered the consequences. We were too excited to travel and discover places and cultures so much so that, it did not matter if we were paid or not. Some people took advantage of that. Lessons learnt: Don’t allow your passion to override the business of the business.
You and your husband have built a wonderful working relationship together, how did you achieve that?
We have the same vision and passion. We developed mutual respect for each other. We don’t ego trip. Above all, we often pray together.
What can be done to revive the tourism sector in Nigeria in the post covid 19 Era?
On the part of tourism practitioners, we need to gain the confidence of travelers; to convince them that, it is safe and ok to travel again. We need to comply with the safety standards for travels and hospitality in a pandemic situation. The committee set up by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) for: “Health & Safety Measures for Tourism & Related Services during Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic” have done an excellent job in setting up acceptable standards of operations for tourism; I am a member of that committee and also a member of the committee set up by International Standard Organization ISO/TC 228/WG 18 N 15ISO/TC 228/WG 18 “Measures to reduce the spread of the Covid -19 in the tourism industry.
So businesses in tourism ecosystem should get certified by SON.
Besides observing strict safety rules, collaboration within the industry is very necessary. We also need cross-sectoral collaboration to reinvigorate, sustain and boost the industry.
We need training and retraining opportunities for practitioners and new entrants in the tourism space.
On the part of the government, we need enabling laws that will favor investors in tourism, enabling environment: Security, access roads and basic amenities like, water and energy (light). Nigeria should invest in image laundering (packaging and marketing Nigeria as a brand).
We should focus on promoting Nigeria to Nigerians first (Nigerians in the country and to those in the diaspora). Nigeria has the largest traveling population in Africa.
If we get 40% of out traveling population to travel within Nigeria; the industry will feel the financial impact.
Nigeria will save the foreign exchange we lose through outbound tourism. More so, the government and corporate organizations should consider holding their conferences and retreats here in Nigeria.
Finally I urge tour operators to create creative tour packages utilizing locations that are ready to receive visitors.
State tourism boards and agencies should engage tour operators in Nigeria: by organizing familiarization trips to showcase what they have in their various states. Tour operators sell better when they have experienced the experience they are selling.
Do you think the Government is doing enough to support the tourism sector in Nigeria?
NO. They are not.
Were you ever afraid when you started this platform?*
No. We were very positive and excited. We still are!
What is your projection for this business in the next 5 years?
The business will be even bigger. It will have more affiliates and would provide more jobs while stimulating the local economies in Nigeria particularly and across Africa.
What advice do you have for young women that have a passion to go into tourism?
Today is the best time to start! Get some trainings and find a mentor in the industry. Collaborate and strike partnership deals with stakeholders in the industry. Above all, just know that you can do it because you want to. If you stay focused and resilient, you will turn your passion to profit.