If you are not in the tourism industry and even if you are but left out, though not deliberately, you may not understand the headline. There are these young persons who are doing something differently and rightly captured, influencing a new trend, unbridled and positive possibilities about Nigerian tourism.
Young, passionate, gritty and intrepid, these young Nigerians are the embodiment of hope and faith for our tourism tomorrow. No poisonous tongues and tribe, and because they have taken to know the diversity of our culture, our people and tongues, they are in love with our country.
A few of them unfortunately had paid the price of nation building through tourism education and awareness. Not minding that they are “orphans” just like some of us, the older variant, these young tourism aficionados, week in week out, are on the lookout for the best of Nigeria, a country to which our leaders, including our state and federal governments tourism funded leaders, have abandoned.
Who are they? Truth be told, I was expressly” kidnapped” into their camp. They created an industry” influencers” platform and dragged me into it. I was not the only one apparently and as wont with me, conducted background check. Temptation to opt out was high but youth tourism signature names like Bolaji Seun, and Olamilekan Omotosho, killed the effort. These young persons are known to me and there are quite a number of them worth my “paternal watch”.
I just love young persons, these ones reminds me of my younger days, heady, unputdownable, adventurous and fearless. That is why “Tourism Influencers’” is the focus today. And honestly, I admire and respect their ethics, love for one another, inclusiveness, partnership and sharing experiences. No foul and uncouth language, just love each others efforts.
On their platform to which has become of a daily devotional book, am catholic in being inspired and hopeful that what we began over three decades ago, now have apostles and evangelists of the most daring hues.
From Enugu, Calabar, Abia to Ekiti, Jos, Jos, Illorin, Katsina, Kebbi Sokoto, Rivers, Bayelsa, nothing is impossible to these young persons. In fact, they are the dare devil of tourism assets and endorsements across our tourism rich country. Yes, like all young persons, they may appear naive and possibly inexperienced, these attributes, are shot down by their unexplainable passion and grit to let the world know that Nigeria is the destination to visit in Africa.
And as earlier pointed out, they go about it, in most patriotic manner, gives and are still giving all to our nation, some paid with their lives just to talk about Nigeria, the good of our people and yet nobody cares.
I religiously follow their chats on the platform and can perceive their disappointment, pains, enthusiasm and prayers for a better tourism tomorrow. They have in an uncanny way challenged and put goggle and Instagram on notice about the best of Nigeria. A nation with most virgin and unspoilt frontiers of tourism assets anywhere in the world.
They are not paid, loved and rewarded for adorning the tourism badge, they are best promotion team I have ever seen in recent times. I can perceive they need help, they need to be assisted as the uncommon discoverers of our tourism gains. If I were at Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), I will fund their activities and escalate their contributions.
If I were a governor or a commissioner of Education, Tourism, Health, Environment and Transportation in any state in Nigeria, I will brand them as my ambassadors, provide them with travel grants.
If I own a resort, a hotel and recreation center, I will invite them to grand openings and show them around, probono with the drinks on the house.
These creative and passionate young persons are not the multitude. They have paid their dues, still learning and proudly Nigerian. They are worth the attention of the federal Ministry of Information and Culture, and Youth and Sports.
You know what, they didn’t wait for the national orientation agency before buzzing the internet with Nigeria’s Cultural tourism positive colours. They changed their attitudes and turned our unfortunate negatives to positives. They lord about Nigeria as rightful owners of the pasture and soon, will chase the tourism pretenders, the national and State tourism minders, misappropriating and misapplying governments tourism funds to their fancy pastime.
Sincerely, I fear for these new Nigeria tourism lovers. Am anxious about their tomorrow, and in an industry, not yet defined, souped up aplenty in lip service and milked to the bone, only God knows if we will waste these ones as we did others before them. This is not about giving them awards, not just about training them, but time for a serious conversation on how to empower them and provide capacity financially for a greater tourism economic promotion and growth
A nation of two hundred million people, counting with a land mass with the most beautiful natural resources endorsement ever, groping in darkness and yet playing to the gallery on youth employment and empowerment.
I can perceive with these young tourism influencers, Nigeria shall rise again but we must harness and encourage them. Their positive attitude and energy to discover and promote Nigeria, is everything. I salute the courage of these young persons and give God the glory to see this happen in my time and alive, that this revolution has come to stay. We are not there yet, but we shall get there. He who compares himself with others, will not discover his fullest splendour and potentials. This is just a part series on these young persons, to whom God has sent forth to get Nigeria out of the wilderness of unbelief and lack of faith in our Cultural tourism rich nation.