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A look at Nigerian tourism industry in 2017

By Chuks Nwanne
30 December 2017   |   2:27 am
The richness and diversity of Nigeria’s culture has always been cited as strong reason why tourism should be a major foreign exchange earner for the country. From east to west, from north down to south, the country is naturally endowed with rich tourist sites. The Osun Osogbo Groove, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Ogbunike Cave, Oguta Late,…

Minister of Information & Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle) during his visit to Owu Falls

The richness and diversity of Nigeria’s culture has always been cited as strong reason why tourism should be a major foreign exchange earner for the country. From east to west, from north down to south, the country is naturally endowed with rich tourist sites.

The Osun Osogbo Groove, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Ogbunike Cave, Oguta Late, Yankari Game Reserve, Olumo Rock, Idorin Hills, Ikogosi Waterfall, Mambila Plateau… the list is inexhaustible, including those that are yet to come to limelight.

And when it comes to festivals, Nigeria is not lacking. From the Argungu Fishing Festival, to Osun Osogbo Festival, Abuja Carnival, Calabar Christmas Carnival, Cross Rivers State Carnival, Eyo Festival, Igue Festival, Ojude Oba Festival, Badagry Festival, Durba Festival… almost every state in the country hosts one or two festivals yearly.

However, the big question is, how much of these opportunities have been fully developed to attract tourists (locally and internationally) as well as earn revenue? Beyond cacophony of voices especially from the state actors, how prepared really is Nigeria showing that it has so much to offer than barrels of oil?

As we look forward to the New Year, here are some activities in the tourism industry for 2017:

Ooni Of Ife To Turn Ancient Town To Tourism Haven
The Ooni of Ile- Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has pledged to turn the ancient city into a tourism haven to boost its economy and occupy its pride of place. Ogunwusi, represented by Mr Moses Olafare, the Director of Media and Public Affairs to the Ooni, said this at a news briefing held in his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun.

Ogunwusi said that Ile-Ife is a land of expansion, and a sacred town globally known as the source of the Oduduwa race.

“The town is known for its peaceful nature, accommodating to visitors and tourists, and home to 201 Yoruba deities,’’ he said.

He said that there were several historical monuments and sites in the ancient city that when developed into international standard, millions of local and foreign tourists and visitors would like to visit having read about them in history books in the past.

South African Tourism Seeks Partnership With Nigeria
IN a bid to share its success story in Nigeria and West Africa in general, as well reach out for more partners in West Africa, South African Tourism in 2017 held a soiree for stakeholders, showbiz stars and media practitioners in Lagos.

Present at the event, which took place at the Miliki Lounge, Victorian Island, Lagos, are South African Tourism, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sisa Ntshona, the country’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Lulama Xingwana and the Consul-General of the High Commission in Nigeria, Mr Darkey Africa.

Trade partners from NANTA, NATOP, TOUGHA, Wakanow Travels, Tourways International Travel & Tours, Tour Brokers International, World and Travel Land, Diamond & Pearls, AvantGarde Tours, GET centre Travel and Tours were equally present.

The session started with an open dialogue, which included a question and answer session between guests and members of the South African Tourism panel. The initiative, according to the organisers, aims at creating free and open communication between the media and South African Tourism stakeholders, as well as seeking way for partnership among stakeholders in the sector.

In FCT, Hotel Owners Urge Minister To Address Multiple Taxation
Hotel owners in the Federal Capital Territory under the umbrella body of Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja (HOFA), have called on the government to look into the problem of multiple taxations imposed on their members by the three tiers of government. 
Speaking during the week at a courtesy call on the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammed Musa-Bello, the body through its President, Mrs. Bola Onigbogi, stated that the burden of heavy taxation has drastically increased their cost of running hotels, even at a time the country’s economic situation was taking its toll on the hospitality industry. 

The Forum equally tasked the Minister on the review of Abuja Master Plan on hospitality industry as well as the current rate issued by Abuja Environmental Protection Board. 

With Visit To Owu Falls, FG Begins Assessment Of Nigeria’s Tourist Sites
Having inaugurated the Technical Committee on the Review of Nigeria’s Tourism Master Plan to articulate realistic policies that will drive tourism from the periphery to the mainstream of the economy, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commenced a tour of tourist sites in the country with a visit to Owu Waterfalls in Kwara State.

Accompanied by representatives of the local community in which the Waterfall is located, alongside officials of the Kwara State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Minister described Owu Waterfall as one of the wonders of nature, adding that the government is now looking toward natural assets like the waterfall with a view to
developing them for economic benefits.

Stakeholders Seek Ways Of Shaping 21st Century Travellers’ Experience
TO stimulate conversation on how Nigeria can take advantage of the numerous opportunities in the sector, Jumia Travel earlier this year hosted a Tourism Summit in Lagos, with notable stakeholders in attendance.

Held under the theme, Expectations vs Reality: Redefining the Role of Industry Stakeholders in Shaping the 21st Century Travelers’ Experience, the robust intellectual discourse had the likes of Akwaaba Africa Travel Market founder Ikechi Uko; MD of Jumia Travel Nigeria, Kushal Dutta; Kenya Airways’ Bakare Abiola; Co-founder Social Prefect Tours, Chiamaka Obuekwe and Sam Adeleke of Afro Tours as panelists.

Moderated by Tosin Ajibe of Olorisupergal, who set the tone for the session, the summit was an opportunity for young travel writers, who have mastered the use of technology in driving travel and tourism, to meet with experienced travel and tourism journalist and stakeholders, who were instrumental to birthing of the industry. In all, it was a platform to look at issues affecting the sector, with special focus on how stakeholders can become catalyst for the needed growth.

U.S. Ambassador Tours Obudu, Drill Ranch, Pledges Support For Conservation Efforts
United States Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symington this year embarked on a two-day tour of the Obudu Mountains and the Drill Ranch on the Afi Mountains of Cross River State.

Ambassador Symington sought to learn more about Nigeria’s unique natural resources. Following the completion of the tour, Ambassador Symington spoke to an audience of senior government officials and leaders of non-government organisations involved in environmental issues, including Pandrillus, Ekuri Initiative, Wildlife Conservation Society, Nigerian Conservation Foundation and the Obudu Conservation Centre, at an event held in Calabar, to commemorate the 2017 Earth Day.

Nigeria Partners UN Agency, CNN To Promote Tourism
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed Mohammed, announced a tripartite partnership involving his Ministry, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the global news leader CNN, to leverage on Nollywood to promote tourism in Nigeria.

The Minister, who announced the plan at the yearly general meeting of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) in Lagos, said that talks are at an advanced stage to forge a very strong and effective partnership, to use our comparative advantage in film production, through Nollywood, to promote tourism in Nigeria.

He said: ”This is a path we have not trodden before, but which we are sure will go a long way in making it possible for us to push tourism from the back-burner to the mainstream of the economy, adding that more details of the partnership will be provided in the days ahead.”

New Dawn In Anambra, As Golden Tulip Takes Over Agulu Lake Hotel
IN what seems like a strategic move to take advantage of the opportunity being provided by the tourism sector, the government of Anambra State entered into a business agreement with Golden Tulip Hotel Group, over the management of idyllic Agulu Lake Hotel Resort, which governor Willie Obiano inherited from his predecessor, Peter Obi.

The 100-Room tourism showpiece nestles in the verdant green slope beside the famous Agulu Lake in Aniocha Local Government Area of the state and is expected to set the tone for the development of the site to a major tourism destination in the state.

Coming on the heels of the recent entry of the Chinese with an airport city project, it seems Anambra’s intention of becoming a major destination in

Nigeria is gradually gaining momentum.

Motherland Beckons Beams Light On Ethiopia’s Al Nejashi, Lalibela
The newly erected stage, just by the longest swimming pool in the world (measuring 240 meters long) at the beachfront of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Ikegun Village, Lekki, Lagos, provided a perfect atmosphere for the formal unveiling of Motherland Beckons Destination Al Nejashi/Lalibela project.

An amalgamation of East and West Africa through tourism and creative arts, the initiative, which is powered by the Motherland Beckons platform, is part of effort by the organisation to bridge the gap between the different regions of Africa and the rest of the world. And over the years, the platform has remained committed to the promotion of Africa, particularly its culture and tourism offerings.

Already, the initiative has successfully activated Destination Akosombo in Ghana and Tanzania, as well as that of Turkey. Today, attention has shifted back to Africa, as Motherland Beckons looks towards Ethiopia as the next destination.

Performed by the founder and President of Motherland Beckons, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye and the Ethiopian Ambassador to Nigeria, Samia Zekaria Gutu, the formal launch, which signaled the commencement of the project, was witnessed by dignitaries, including the General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines (Nigeria) Solomon Begashaw, who will play a vital role in ensuring a seamless connection for tourists.

Domestic Tourism: NTDC Plans Big With Tour Nigeria
ON the heels of MyAbujaWeekend project, which aimed at motivating movement to tourism destinations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation  (NTDC) has lunched another product — Tour Nigeria. The loģo of the latest product was unveiled recently in Abuja, with stakeholders in tourism and hospitality industry in attendant.

The Tour Nigeria project, in the words of the Director General of NTDC, Mr. Folorunsho Coker, “is an ambitious attempt at promoting tourism in Nigeria. Part of the he project is the Corporation’s planned ‘Tour Nigeria’ bus tour of the country’s six geo-political zones, with effect from the month of August.”

A Toast To 100 African Tourism Women At Akwaaba 2017
For their contribution to the development of the tourism sector in Africa, 100 African women were honoured at the just concluded 13th edition of the Akwaaba African Travel Market, at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Among the receipts is Mrs Florence Ita Giwa popularly known as Mama Bakassi, for her role in fighting for and empowering the people of Bakassi Peninsular. Her selection was also for her contribution in strengthening the Carnival Calabar brand.

The list also has the Kenyan Irene Koki Mutungi, a professional pilot and the first female on the African continent to become certified as a Captain of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft were among the recipients of the awards which seek to celebrate women who are making tremendous impact in promoting Africa as a choice destination within their catchment areas.

The three-day event, which also featured Chef Challenge, a culinary contest to confirm the West African country that cooks the best Jollof rice, was declared open by the Director General, National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe.
World Tourism Day: Minister Makes Case For Sustainability In Tourism Development

In commemoration of this year’s World Tourism Day, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed that sustainability is absolutely necessary if tourism is to achieve its full potentials, which include being a catalyst for economic growth and poverty eradication.

In a statement issued in London as part of the celebration, Lai Mohammed hinted that, without sustainability, tourism couldn’t generate benefits to all stakeholders, solve serious problems such as extreme poverty, and preserve precious natural and man-made resources on which human prosperity is based.

Referring to the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, which is Sustainable Tourism – Tool for Development, he said Member States of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are encouraged to make sure that their policies and actions for tourism development and management fully embrace the principles of sustainability.

Ogbeide-Ihama Decries Neglect Of Tourism Sector
A member of the House of Representatives, Engr Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama has decried the neglect of the culture and tourism sector of the economy. Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, the lawmaker remarked that the development makes a mockery of the quest by government to diversify the economy.

Ogbeide-Ihama who is the Chairman of the House committee on Culture and Tourism stated that the situation was worsened due to the poor funding of the sector over the years. He argued that government stand to make immediate gains from the sector since could strengthen the unity among Nigerians.

At UNWTO Conference, Stakeholders Debate Role Of Tourism In Africa
The potential of Tourism in poverty alleviation and to induce transformative change has been addressed in Lusaka, capital city of Zambia, during the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference on Promoting Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement in Africa.

The Conference, a flagship event of the Africa region for the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, opened on November 16 and lasted till 18, and was coordinated by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in cooperation with the Government of Zambia.

According to UNWTO statistical data, the African continent had an increase of international arrivals of 8% in 2016, compared to the previous year. This, together with the increasing commitment of African governments to position tourism in their agenda, reveals the gaining prominence of the sector as well as its strong potential to foster positive change and transformation.

In FCT, Tourism Stakeholders Unite For Abuja Jabamah
It was a gathering of major players in the tourism industry within and around the Federal Capital Territory, at the official launch of Abuja Jabamah, another word for ‘welcome’ in Fulani.

The event, which was put together by one of Nigeria’s tourism promoters and founder of Akwaaba Africa Travel market, Mr. Ikechi Uko, brought together hoteliers, travels, tour operators, airliners and other players in the country, on how to explore the immense tourism potentials embedded in meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

Carnival Calabar Warps Up 2017 Tourism Calendar
All through the month of December, Calabar the capital city of Cross River State was the centre of attraction, as stakeholders and tourists from different parts of the world, stormed the city for this year’s Carnival.

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