Black travel influencer details mistreatment by Seychelles Tourism Board
New Yorktravel and lifestyle based content creator Abigail Akinyemi had been excited about the opportunity to work with the Seychelles Tourism Board. They had invited her to visit and create content to promote travel to the East Africa island nation. Now, however, instead of encouraging others to visit, Abigail wants to share her experience to warn travelers – especially black travelers – of the poor treatment she received there.
Abigail had been in communication with the tourist office for some time before her trip, which took place last month. They arranged and confirmed his excursions, promising that his accommodation would also be taken care of. But as her travel time approached, there was still no confirmation that her hotel had been booked.
“They gave me the sleight of hand…and assured me to keep coming, saying my accommodation would be fixed,” Abigail said. “However, after I arrived I had nowhere to stay and the tourist office did not secure my hotel in time.”
Upon arriving in the Seychelles, Abigail found herself scrambling to find accommodation at the last minute. Although they reassured her that everything would be settled by her arrival, the tourist office never secured her accommodation.
Despite their failure to keep their end of the deal, the board expected Abigail to keep theirs. They insisted that she continue to work and deliver the agreed content. Abigail cut her stay short and left the next day. The trip turned out to be a huge disappointment in many ways.
“During my short stay in the country, I experienced neglect, anti-blackness and disrespect, not only from the board but also from the people, which has was a huge shock.”
As soon as she arrived in Seychelles, Abigail was mistreated, starting with airport staff. She immediately noticed a difference between the treatment she received and the treatment the White Travelers received.
“My group was pushed aside during immigration and repeatedly questioned about the hotel we were staying at. (At this point we had booked a hotel at the last minute due to negligence from the office tourism.) After the interrogation, the officer then called our hotel to confirm that we were indeed staying there. This behavior was odd to say the least. Other people on our flight (who were white) did not have this problem. They were able to show their papers and leave immigration.
On the way home, airport gate agents had a miscommunication regarding his luggage and that of his travel companions. Instead of helping them, the officers laughed at them and joked that they were going to miss their flight. This contrasted sharply with how Abigail saw the same agents treat white travelers with the utmost respect. She also received similar rude treatment from a taxi driver.
“As I was trying to get a taxi, the driver spoke to me curtly when I asked for the price. His quote was 50% higher than expected, and after we agreed on his high price , he slammed the door in my face.
Abigail shares her story in hopes of raising awareness of the unfortunate reality that many black travelers face, even when traveling to black countries. She also wants to shed light on the poor treatment of black influencers compared to influencers of other races when working with tourism boards.
“Many black Americans are eager to visit African countries, but are horribly treated when they get there. This treatment was done to me as a person coming to promote his country; how much worse will they treat other tourists? »
Abigail thinks if she was a white influencer working with the Seychelles Tourism Board, they would have been more accommodating and transparent with what they could provide.
“If you check their social media/website there is very little Black influencers. They’re used to working with content creators and hosting them the way they promised me, but they didn’t deliver on their end of the bargain.
“If they had been clear in their communication, I could have made pre-arrangements, but they deliberately gave me the rounds, which I know they wouldn’t do with a white influencer. When the tourist office realized that they were wrong, instead of rectifying the situation, they asked me to stay and continue working to create content for their platform, another thing they wouldn’t try with a white influencer.
Despite her negative experience, Abigail says she will continue to work with tourist boards. However, the ordeal has helped her make some changes in the way she functions when working with them. For one thing, she’s created a new line of questions to use before you go on a trip.
Her experience has also served as a catalyst to help her redefine her standards of what she will and won’t accept when working with organizations. By going public with her story and shedding light on the treatment she received in Seychelles, she hopes to spark a change in the way tourism boards and content creators communicate.
“There needs to be clear communication when it comes to a process as delicate as travel. With so many moving parts, negligence cannot be the answer.
Related: Traveling in Black: These Influencers Discuss the Changes They Want to See in the Industry