Funmi Rotiba’s 13 year experience in the tourism sector makes her an expert, to an extent, on matters that concern that line of business. And in this interview with Stellamaries Amuwa, the natural beauty bares it all on tourism and its relationship with fashion.
What does it mean to be a tour consultant?
In Nigeria, we have issues of visa collectors, tour consultant and travel agency. But I have been able to set aside what I stand for and I have been able to pick tour consulting jobs because it is more dignifying and beautiful for me to do.
Tell us more about tour consultancy?
We do not only make visas for clients, we let them know what it entails to travel, what it takes to enjoy a holiday, tour and how to organise events overseas. Tourism encompasses a lot that people do not know. It is not just about visa, like people say. The Nigerian mentality is all about getting the visa but a tour consultant will put you through what you need to know to visit and when, what you will benefit and do even on your way back. We run an all-female trip where ladies can travel as a group on tour or excursions to places like China, Turkey and other places where you buy your goods together and come back together.
Has it been worthwhile?
It has been worth it, I love what I do. First of all you need to love what you do in order to achieve success. I don’t think I want to be in any other business apart from this.
Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
I hope to become a minister someday, minister of tourism actually, director general or head of tourism, just somewhere up there. Tourism lives in me.
How would you describe fashion and style?
I am a fashionista sincerely, I love fashion in earnest. There is no way you would be in tourism and not love fashion. Tourism is a beautiful thing, tourism is life but fashion and tourism are inseparable. I am a traditional chief, I am Erelu asa. In Yoruba, Erelu is the equivalent of the king title for women. It’s not the same as queen because Erelu is a stronger title but queen is the wife of a king. Kings has chiefs but Erelu might have representatives but not chiefs. Erelu asa is like an ambassador of culture.
Can you tell us about your family?
I am from a family of four. My mom died when I was 19-years-old. I am the second born and first daughter of my family.
Where is your best tourist destination in Nigeria?
I will say Osun State. Osun has so many tourist sites. I was at the Osun Festival some couple of weeks ago. I have visited at least 40 to 100 kings within Nigeria and everywhere I have been, I let them know that Nigeria is beautiful and they have a lot to do in terms of showcasing what they have. Right now, I am propagating cultural tourism not just the international tourist sites. Let’s promote what we have in Nigeria so that people can come and buy.
How do you unwind?
I am a very busy person, but in my spare time I like to travel to cover up for lost times. I love meeting people, attending festivals and all.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I love oldies, current jams and I love artistes like Davido, Olamide and the likes.
What is your beauty routine?
I drink lots of water and take little sugar. Basically, I hardly makeup because I believe makeup covers the real beauty. I am not saying makeup is bad but I would rather not wear makeup. When you are beautiful, you carry it with such confidence that cannot be altered. It is also the way you portray yourself that makes you beautiful. You see some people not looking so beautiful but the way they carry themselves says a lot.
What is your advice to other women?
Be happy all the time and love whatever you do. Even when all seems to be going the wrong way, keep loving what you do
Your favourite meal?
Beans and corn.