Exploring Excellence: A Spotlight on Maryam Adebusola Adeola’s Hospitality Triumph

25under25 Award Winner 2023 Spotlight for International Women's Day 2024

Maryam Adebusola Adeola, a law student at the University of Ibadan, serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Explore Africa with The Moria. Passionate about positive change and SDGs 8, 9, and 11, she’s nominated for FOYA Global Awards’ Most Promising Founder of the Year. Maryam founded Explore Africa to promote African culture, tourism, and economy, aiming to inspire exploration and ecotourism while creating jobs. Despite using her allowances to fund it since September 2021, she’s dedicated to its success, believing it contributes to a better world. Outside her studies and career, Maryam focuses on enhancing her financial intelligence through reading, courses, and videos on personal finance, business, investing, and personal development.

Our short interview with Maryam

  • Can you share your journey and the experiences that led you to become an entrepreneur in the hospitality and tourism sector, especially as a woman?

Explore Africa with The Moria (a subsidiary of The Ominira Hub Nigeria Ltd) started over 2 years ago as a brand to promote tourism in Africa, and showcase African culture, people, and places. This venture was born from my passion for the development of Africa. I realized the extent Africa’s GDP would grow if we could attract foreign tourists as well as influence our indigenous people to choose African destinations over their European counterparts.  I decided that when I got wealthy I would invest in tourism; develop natural tourist attractions and build man-made tourist attractions.  However, in 2021, I decided to start that journey, without waiting further.  So far, we have been embarking on programs and projects to promote tourism in Africa, we also package tours.

  • Were there specific inspirations or challenges that shaped your decision to venture into this industry?

As I said earlier, I am keen on Africa’s development, I did my due diligence and I realized tourism is a gold mine that has not been tapped into efficiently in Africa, I was concerned about the rate Africans were traveling to countries such as France, UAE, Greece, and so on, for vacations, honeymoons, and other purposes, whereas there are more beautiful destinations in Africa that people do not know about.  I guess another experience that inspired me was the fact that my father owns hotels, I had been managing hotels since my pre-teenage, thus, I have been in the hospitality industry before I found my path in tourism.

25under25 Award Winner 2023 Spotlight for International Women's Day 2024
  • Hospitality and tourism are highly customer-centric. How do you incorporate innovation into your business to enhance the overall guest experience?

The conventional way of booking in a hotel or restaurant, even buying tour packages, was physically going to the business center or better still putting a call through, but with the advancement of technology, life has been made easier, you can do any of these from any part of the world.  One of our focuses is to create a networking platform for African youth through tourism, we have not been able to build an app but we are efficiently utilizing existing social networking apps such as Instagram, YouTube, and WhatsApp, among others.

  • The hospitality industry has seen progress in gender diversity. How do you actively support and empower women within your organization and in the broader hospitality community?

It’s encouraging to see women take on mantles, I am always glad to see how women are breaking barriers, there are more women on our team than men, not because we deliberately chose them over men, it just happened that they applied and showed up more than men, they are always ready to deliver and to be candid, the men in the team make things easier for us, there’s inclusivity, they are always ready to support and encourage their female colleagues, it’s a family rather than a working environment.  For women who have proven to be stellar, we do not hesitate to give them their flowers.

    • Beyond business, how do you leverage your role as a hospitality and tourism entrepreneur to advocate for responsible and sustainable tourism practices, especially with a focus on women’s well-being?

    One of our aims is to promote sustainable tourism in Africa, we are always creating awareness of sustainable tourism practices in our society, and we also organize events and programs to enlighten people about how to be sustainable and responsible tourists.

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