Meet Lola Daniyan, founder of Unraveling Nigeria, one of the tour companies at the forefront of the efforts to revive Nigerian local tourism. For years, the local travel scene in Nigeria was as good as dead, with most travelers preferring to travel abroad over visiting local destinations. Concerted efforts by tour companies like Unraveling Nigeria have led to the recent rise of interest in local tourism among Nigerians. Curated trips to destinations like Idanre hills (Ondo State), Obudu Cattle Ranch (Cross River State) and Kajuru Castle (Kaduna State) have now become commonplace.
Born in 1989, Lola Daniyan is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Greenwich, England, and holds a post graduate degree in Marketing from the London School of Business and Finance. Lola is a travel blogger, and a travel curator, creating amazing travel experiences within Nigeria.
Unraveling Nigeria was born out of Lola’s need to explore Nigeria’s tourism potential. Growing significantly since its inception in 2014, the brand has evolved from just highlighting tourist attractions to showcasing the Nigerian people and their cultures. Lola believes that tourism is all encompassing, and that it is not just enough to visit a place, one must learn about its people and cultures too. Operations carried out by Unraveling Nigeria include curated private and public trips, and publication of articles on tourism and culture in Nigeria.
Lola who has always loved traveling developed the idea for Unraveling Nigeria while in England with her family. They had visited Buckingham Palace and she was stunned by the amount of people trying to visit and take pictures in front of the palace. She wondered why people didn’t visit the several palaces back in Nigeria in that same manner. This led her into opening the Unraveling Nigeria blog as a site for reviewing places of interests in Nigeria, before expanding into travel curation.
Traveling conditions in Nigeria are still far from perfect and during her work, Lola has been faced with several difficulties ranging from car breakdowns, language barriers, and resistance from immigration officials. With the travel industry still far from being fully formed, Lola also faces industry logistics related difficulties like insufficient information and unreliable vendors. However, it is also exciting for her to watch the industry grow and constantly evolve.
For Lola, the best part of being a travel curator is witnessing the joy people feel when they explore new places, while the best part of being a travel blogger is sharing knowledge about places or cultures people knew little or nothing about. Lola holds a full-time job in marketing and digital media and despite the difficulty she sometimes faces combining both, she makes use of her break times and vacation days to handle her personal business. She enjoys traveling because it allows her meet people whom she learns new things from and it reminds her that the world is so much more than her little corner.
With a lot of new players springing up on the travel curation scene, Lola ensures that Unraveling Nigeria remains at the forefront by applying a unique and creative spin to her work that ensures she stands out and delivers value for money. Unraveling Nigeria has curated trips to several Nigerian states including Kogi, Kwara, Kaduna, Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo and Lagos States.
Lola is working to make Unraveling Nigeria the hub for all things tourism related in Nigeria and hopes to expand outside Nigeria in time. In ten years, Lola sees herself heading a brand of international standards that puts Nigeria at the forefront of tourism in the world.
Check out unraveling Nigeria on www.unravelingnigeria.com, and on social media @unravelingnigeria.
This article was written by Phidelia Imiegha,
Phidelia Imiegha is a young Nigerian writer and lover of literature. She is an African literature enthusiast and accepts book gifts all year round. She spends her free time adulting and listening to music. You can find her writing on her personal blog www.phideliaimiegha.com, or follow her on twitter @thephidelia_
Culled from Issue 19