Lovers of tourism, including Nigerians and foreigners, were in high expectations during this year’s edition of the Nigeria Travel Week, which ended last week. The event focused on creative tourism with the theme ‘Harnessing the Creative Tourism Potentials of Culture Rich Destinations’.
Organisers of the programme, The Nigeria Travel Week, is a nonprofit organization, supported by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents and Skal, Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Army Property Limited, among others.
Activities that took place during the week-long included an interaction between Nigeria Travel Week and the media, a travel roundtable discussion on tourism at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
Guests who graced the occasion included the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Shuli Adebolu; Chairman, Nigerian Tanners Council (NTC), Alhaji Lawan Sule Garo, Bruce Onabrakpeya, Denrele Sonariwo, Zainab Ashadu, Emeka Okocha, Lola Adefowope, among others.
Also, visitors had the opportunity of visiting tourist sites in Lagos and Ogun States respectively. Also at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, the Nigeria Tourism Awards (The Balearica) took place. There was an after party at the Hard Rock Cafe, Lekki, Lagos and a tourism hangout at La Campagne Tropicana, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
Efetobo Awhana, organiser of the event urged Nigerians to begin to enjoy the tourism potentials because the country stands to gain a lot from tourism, “What we’re saying basically in Nigeria Travel Week is that we can start to make money from tourism. The vast natural resources, such as waterfalls, animals like gorillas and elephants and attractive landscapes, are money spinners the country is not taking advantage of.
“Unfortunately for us, we have so relied on oil that we have forgotten that any other thing can earn us money.”
Femi Lawson, a member of the Nigeria Travel Week team, said, “All of what we are trying to do here is to promote Nigeria as a perfect and reliable tourist destination for local and international tourists. Also creative tourism is a way of engaging tourists in destination activities so that they can go with an experience.”
Another member of the Nigeria Travel Week and Senior Advisor, Red Clay, a tourism advisory practitioner, Dr Adun Okupe, creative tourism will provide a rich cultural experience for the tourists, more opportunities for tourism entrepreneurs and also generate income for the places visited.
According to her, “Creative tourism is basically an experiential form of tourism. It is beyond just going to these sites in Enugu, Oshogbo or Ibadan to observe. How do you participate in the local culture? How do you engage in the local culture? Do you learn the dance? Did you learn to make a certain type of food?
“Did you learn how to sing a certain type of song? Do you learn how to make a certain type of fabric? We’ve done Batik workshops in Oshogbo, and we found that a lot of people enjoyed that more than just buying a nice batik fabric. We want them to choose their own symbols and meaning.”