Olushola Micheals is one of Nollywood’s latest actors and filmmakers. He is also the CEO of Forbes Global Project, a leading Nigerian travel and tourism agency known for its money-back guarantees. Speaking in an interview with journalists recently, he revealed his passion for travel and tourism and how Nollywood can make better profits. ROTIMI IGE brings excerpts.
Asides being a filmmaker, you are a travel and tourism entrepreneur. How do you marry both sides of your career?
It’s not easy, but because movies have been my passion since childhood, I found a way. Though I couldn’t practise it for more than 30 years of my life, the minute I grabbed it, I never let go. I shot and produced over 15 movies within a year.
Forbes Global Project, on the other hand, is my primary business, it is a brand that is primarily focused on visa assistance, relocation of families or single persons from Nigeria to other parts of the world, and those who live outside the country and want to renew their visas or need legal services. We work with different lawyers in different countries, and in most cases, I travel to different parts of the world to help people sort out issues they have legally. The bottom line is that we are in the business of migration and immigration.
How long has Forbes Global Project been in business?
18 years now.
Since you diversified into showbiz, how profitable would you say it is?
It can only be profitable if your craft is that good and you have good stories to tell. But when you put your best into it as I did for the first three to five years, you never can tell where you would get it.
Why travel and tourism?
It was what I found interesting. Travel has been my interest for a long time and I do a lot of it. In a year, I do over 50 travels.
How did the name Forbes come about?
I’ve always wanted to be on the Forbes list and I am not giving up on that. I intend to make the list someday.
If you were to quantify, how would you describe your success rate on judging with of the clients you work with at Forbes?
It has been beyond imagination. We’ve done pretty well when it comes to assisting people who want to go study abroad or visit for tourism or business purposes. We also assist corporate organisations whose staff want to go outside the country for vacation or training abroad and to do courses. We do expatriate visas for people that want to come into Nigeria to do business or just work.
What sets you apart?
Of course, there are thousands of other visa and travel agents. But we are the only ones in the whole of Nigeria that does money-back guarantee. What that means is that when you come to us as a business, we give you a standard agreement form that we both sign. The agreement states simply that if you are refused a visa or it is delayed beyond the time we have given you, then we refund your money. This is what we are known for.
But there are countries that ordinarily are not keen on Nigerians coming into their borders at different times, how do you work around that?
Most people are misinformed. Those things don’t apply to tourist visas. The problem is usually with immigrants. Nigerians have never been banned from the US. Applying for a tourist visa is even quite easy. All you need is go to GTBank, pay for your visa fee, go online, book your appointment and that’s it.
Every country has its requirements and at Forbes, we understand that. We help you give the embassies all they want and even more.
With all these guarantees, how affordable are your services?
I think Nigerians prefer quality to quantity. The quality of our services are very good, so our service while expensive are also affordable. We don’t do shoddy work, we go the extra mile and that is key.
COVID-19 shut down the world travel and aviation industry. Now that countries are opening up again, how do you think travellers can prepare?
When the economy newly reopened, we didn’t do much. But now that embassies are opening up, now is the time to apply for visas. A lot of countries need people now to work. People are afraid to go and work for many reasons including COVID-19. Countries are looking for immigrants, from Canada to New Zealand, to Australia, even the US, UK and a lot of them.
Their citizens won’t go to work because they know that they will get paid irrespective of whether they go or not. I’m a global citizen, so I know this for sure. They pay their citizens because they don’t want them to resort to crime to survive.
If you are getting that, why would you want to risk your life with a pandemic in play? All these have created a shortage in the workforce, so this is the time to apply for a visa.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
From the 58,795 samples tested last week, Nigeria recorded 937 new COVID-19 infections.
Tribune Online analysis also shows that the new confirmed cases are slightly higher than those recorded the previous week (October 25 – 31) where the country recorded 923 cases.
Democratic candidate, Joe Biden has been elected President of the United States of America.With good stories
According to CNN projection, Biden polled 273 electoral college votes while President Trump garnered 213 electoral college votes.With good stories
Kamala Harris made history on Saturday with her election as Joe Biden’s vice president, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to win the second-highest US office.With good stories With good stories