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Nigeria’s tourism sector may not grow under a supervising ministry, says experts

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The tourism industry in the country might not attract the desired investment growth if it continued to be an agency under a supervising ministry.

Two stakeholders in the tourism sector said it on Wednesday during the 400th anniversary of Global Slave Trade, which they claimed started in 1619.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that 40 independent travel agencies and companies came together in Badagry to commemorate the 400 years of the introduction of slave trade in Africa.

The companies used the occasion to visit the Badagry Slave Trade points such as the Heritage Museum, Malam Seriki Abass Slave House, the First Storey Building in Nigeria, the Point-of-No-Return Harbour and others.

The Founder of TVP Adventure, Funmi Oyatogun, said that Nigeria had great tourism potential capable of boosting her economy.

Oyatogun, however, noted that the tourism sector might not attract the desired investment if it continued to be an agency under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

“Nigeria is missing a lot as regards investment in the tourism sector. We are missing in terms of traffic foot fall because Africa is now the third largest tourism economy.

“In spite of the abundant opportunities, Nigeria is yet to tap into it. We have yet to simplify or encourage the infrastructural facilities that will ease the movement of people around Nigeria.

“Nigeria is laid back in spite of the fact that we have many countries in Africa growing their economy through tourism.

“The budgetary allocation for the tourism industry is too small because it is not our priority.

“Tourism industry cannot grow if we continue to have it under the Ministry of Information because we cannot expect growth in that way.

“The tourism sector needs to be a separate ministry of its own and not as an agency under a ministry,’’ she said.

The founder, Nigeria Travel Week, Mr Efetobo Awhana, said that there were so many untapped opportunities in the tourism sector.

He added that other countries also rich in oil had diversified and started growing their tourism industry.

“There are so many untapped opportunities in the tourism sector which other countries have been benefiting from, but Nigeria is looking the other way.

“Other oil producing countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia have been investing proceeds from oil into tourism industry which has a higher yield.

“We should not wait to experience in Nigeria what happened to some other European countries.

“We need to have an investment fund from the tourism bank to help the investment in the tourism industry.

“A country with a population of 200 million people should be able to drive or maximise its investment potential to the fullest,’’ he said.

Awhana, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Avantgarde Tours, said that Nigeria had enough tourist attractions that could be turned into multi-million naira ventures.

“ In Nigeria alone, we have over 40 waterfalls with about 10 waterfalls in Mambilla alone. We need to start thinking about investment in that sector now.

“Also the celebration of the global slave trade is another heritage we can tap into.

“In America now, people are having DNA test to determine their origin and I think many will be having Nigerian root.

“We also need to domesticate our tourism industry so as to be the first beneficiaries of our investment,’’ he said.

KOJE/KOO/PAD

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Peter Dada

Tourism

Kaduna acting Governor urges more patronage of museums to broaden knowledge, identity

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The Acting Governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, on Tuesday urged parents to allow their children to patronize museums in order to broaden their knowledge about the history and cultures of the various entities in the country.

Balarabe made the call in Kaduna when she received a delegation from National Commission for Museums and Monuments, on a courtesy visit.

She said the state government cherishes art and culture, and was ready to support the Commission in mobilising children to develop the habit of visiting museums.

She noted that though the museum tells the story of where we came from, but that aspect of history is being lost.

“The history is now being lost, we need to wake up and place more emphasis on patronage of museums so that our people will appreciate each other.”

Balarabe appealed to the commission to come up with plans where people will come to museums for leadership training, saying it is the only place where people will find their identity.

According to her, the state is revising its curriculum to deepen knowledge about all aspects of life.

To encourage patronage, she advised that access to museums by students be made free.

She commended the commission for organising the NOK cultural festival, coming up soon, and pledged government support for a successful event.

In a remark, the Curator National Museum Kaduna, Gimba Abdul, said the visit  was to seek government support towards the upcoming NOK cultural festival slated for Nov. 29.

He also sought government support to encourage public schools in the state to patronize the Kaduna museum to broaden students perspective about the country.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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FTAN calls for national policy on ‘Cultural Tourism’ in Nigeria

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Alhaji Rabo Saleh, National President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has called on the Federal Government to come up with a national policy on ‘Cultural Tourism’ to boost the sector.

Saleh said this on Tuesday at the 5th Edition of Nigeria Tourism Investors Forum and Exhibition (NTIFE) in Abuja, with the theme: “An Insight into the Legal Framework of Tourism in Nigeria”.

Saleh said that domestic and international tourism experts have concluded that cultural tourism was Nigeria’s most competitive tourist product, if properly harnessed.

“Nigeria is a promising African tourism destination, therefore, there should be no dichotomy between ‘culture’ and ‘tourism’.

“Culture and Tourism departments in government ministries should work as a team to sell Nigeria to inbound tourists.

“Other countries, like Turkey and China have recently been investing in cultural tourist products with enviable success,” he said.

The FTAN president urged Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and other stakeholders to utilise the opportunities to put Nigeria on the global tourism map.

He added that this could be achieved by the diversification of the economy through cultural tourism products that would attract inbound forex spending tourists, also by promotion of domestic tourism to create business.

“State governments are the natural custodians of most tourist sites because the sites are all local.

“Mapping out tourism development zone at the Local Government level, provision of tourist facilities such as access roads, facilitating land acquisition for tourism investors should be put into consideration,” he said.

He called on the government, both federal and state to analytically look at the Nigeria’s tourism map and build up a motor-able road that would lead to and fro tourist destinations in Nigeria.

Also speaking, Mr Samuel Alabi, Chairman, FTAN Board of Trustees, appealed to the FG to allocate land to FTAN for tourism to flourish.

Alabi, also a former president of FTAN,  added that allocating land to the association would help tourism development in Nigeria.

The event attracted personalities from the Federal Ministry of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Orientation Agency as well as stakeholders in the tourism sector, among others.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ifeyinwa Omowole

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Tourism

Nigeria Travel Week partners Cabo Verde Airline, SKAL, Upbeat for tourism growth

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Nigeria Travel Week said it had collaborated with Cabo Verde Airline, Upbeat Recreational Centre, Skyview Communications and SKAL International for proper marketing of the nation’s tourism sites.

The Organiser, Efetobo Awhana, told journalists at the ongoing 3rd Nigeria Travel Week that collaborations were inevitable in order to achieve remarkable growth in the tourism industry.

“The Nigeria Travel Week has decided to collaborate with these stakeholders in order to use various channels to showcase nation’s tourism endowments and to encourage Nigerians to travel within the country and Africa.

“The Skyview Communications would be giving people the virtual reality platform whereby people can be enlightened about tourism potential in the country.

“These virtual reality gadgets will be available for all to explore in the course of the programme; we are also partnering with SKAL as the strongest association in the world with over 15,000 members.

“Nigeria Travel Week is concerned with the promotion of inbound tourism and travel within Africa.

“We have also collaborated with Cabo Verde Airline, being an African Airline, which we believe we can use to achieve our objective of encouraging seamless travels across African countries,” he said.

Awhana said Nigeria travel week had also partnered with the South African Airways, Nigerian Army, Bristol Palace Hotel, Kano and more.

Mrs Ofure Obidike, President of SKAL International, pledged to support Nigeria Travel Week in promoting inbound tourism through the over 15,000 members the association had globally.

She said different forms of assistance would be rendered in terms of publicity and other technical issues.

According to her, SKAL is open for everyone in the tourism business value chain as it was a professional organisation that promote global tourism and friendship, uniting all sectors of the travel and tourism industry.

“SKAL has existed for 60 years now and we will be helping the Nigeria Travel Week to achieve its goals in promoting nation’s tourism destinations,” she said.

Also Mrs Moyo Ogunseinde, Director, Upbeat Recreational Centre, said that the amenities at the centre would be at people’s disposal during the programme.

She said the facility was opened for all for Christmas carnivals, family camp as there were regular live band, gymnastics, cafe, restaurant for people’s pleasure.

Chloe Grant, West and Central Africa Market Director, Cabo Verde Airline, said that the airline would do everything possible to encourage seamless travels between Cabo Verde and Nigeria to help the Nigeria Travel Week achieve its goals.

Grant said this would also rub off on the neigbouring countries to Cape Verde and Nigeria.

She said more of the outcome of the collaboration would be evident when the airline began operation from December 9, 2019.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Imo state government condemns invasion of zoo by host community

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Imo State Ministry of Environment has condemned the recent invasion of the state Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park by the host Nekede community in Owerri West council area of the state.

Mr Gilbert Nnah, Permanent Secretary, who is also the acting Commissioner Ministry of Environment, made the disclosure in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Owerri.

Nnah said that the invaders destroyed some facilities in the zoo adding that the perpetrators would face the wrath of the law because the area was a government conservative area.

NAN recalled that members of the community invaded Imo Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park on Saturday and laid claim to a forest in the facility.

The Perm Sec condemned the earlier claim by the community that the Attorney General of the state had ceded the forest to the community adding that the land still belonged to government.

According to him, no judgment can undermine the Land Use Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the legal protection status of the zoo as contained in the Eastern Nigeria No. 1350 Forest Law (Cap 55) of the 1966 section 7, sub section 2.

“This law set aside all wildlife and forest facilities as protected areas by law,” he said.

He said the invaders vandalised the zoo facilities which included the canteen, animal water supplying pipes, borehole and the facility fence.

Mr Kemmas Nkemakolam, Community Spokesman told NAN that state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice had ceded the forest to them for expansion, which he said warranted their action.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ndukwu Nnawuchi (SAN), in a telephone interview with NAN, denied issuing any authority to the community.

He said, “I did not issue any authority for any community to invade government property, but all I can say is that the community has an understanding with government over the land”.

The General Manager of the zoo, Mr Francis Abioye said there was no evidence of court judgment or authority given to the community to take over the zoo forest.

NAN however, gathered that the action of the community is generating wide criticism from stakeholders in Imo and lovers of nature.

Edited by Hawa Lawal/Maureen Atuonwu

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Ugwuanyi calls on youths to use their talents to promote Nigerian values

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Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has called on young people to use their talents constructively to promote Nigerian values and improve social cohesion.

Ugwuanyi made the call at the grand finale of 2019 Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF) held on Sunday at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the MTN Foundation sponsored the LIMCAF exhibition and Award ceremony.

Ugwuanyi said, while thanking the organisers, that the event had become a platform for young Nigerians to share their creativity and for attracting visitors from across the country and beyond.

He said that the event had put the state on the national tourism map and also a means of creating wealth and generating revenue for the people.

“I congratulate all the contestants and winners.

”I also thank the organisers of LIMCAF 2019 and the sponsor, MTN Foundation, for putting us on the national tourism map and for giving Enugu an enabling platform to showcase our hospitality.

“I enjoin everybody to continue supporting young talents so that as we grow our arts and showcase our talents, we will continue to foster unity and national integration,” he said.

Mr Dennis Okoro, Director at the MTN Foundation, said it supported the event because of its desire to reawaken love for Nigeria through arts and culture.

Okoro said that the MTN Foundation supported the festival as part of its Arts and Culture Courses, through which it had sponsored some art, poetry and theatre productions.

He said the Foundation had sponsored plays like Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Agbarho, Jungle Story 2, Emotan and initiatives like the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival and the Lagos International Poetry Festival.

“Our support for this national event stems from a desire to see a reawakening of Nigerian arts and culture as fulcrum for national cohesion.

”Of course, a world without art is a world devoid of colour,” he said.

The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, said the theme of the event, ‘The Other Side ‘ tallied with the works on display which were a vivid rendition of today’s relevant issues.

Achebe, who was also LIMCAF patron, said the event was coming on a day that would have been the 115th birthday of Nigeria’s first president, Nnamdi Azikiwe.

He enjoined the participating artists to emulate the footsteps of the country’s visual legends, Bruce Onobrakpeya and Yusuf Grillo.

Bruce Onobrakpeya, a celebrated Nigerian printmaker, painter and sculptor, said that LIMCAF was unprecedented in the development of modern contemporary art in Nigeria.

According to him, the festival brings home to everybody, especially to the parents of practitioners, the social and economic value of art.

The Executive Director, LIMCAF, Mr Kevin Ejiofor, described the finale as “an accurate representation of the ability of our young artists to imagine our society in new, bold and provocative ways.”

NAN reports that the 2019 edition, saw young artists thrilled seasoned art collectors, celebrities, and art lovers with paintings, mixed media creations and sculptures, which spoke to the theme, “The Other Side”.

NAN also reports that the festival was billed as the largest gathering of young artists, patrons, scholars, gallery owners and other stakeholders in the visual arts in Nigeria.

It reports that the festival was the culmination of a process that saw a record 507 entries from 24 States and eight zonal exhibitions.

No fewer than 100 artists participated in the finale that included exhibitions in Abuja, Benin, Ibadan, Lagos, Ondo, Port Harcourt, Uyo and Zaria.

Victor Olaoye, whose exhibit was a charcoal medium painting titled ‘Angel among gods’, won the 2019 LIMCAF.

Olaoye smiled home with a cash prize of N500,000 and would have the honour of representing Nigeria at the Dakar Biennale, Senegal, in June 2020.

VIN /

Edited by Chidinma Agu/Maureen Atuonwu

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Tourism

Firm opens Virtual Reality Booth in Lagos to market Nigeria’s tourism

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Skyview Communications, a tourism firm, has created a virtual reality booth at the Upbeat Recreational Centre, Lekki, Lagos, to market Nigeria’s tourism sites.

Speakiñg at the opening ceremony, Mr Femi Lawson, Managing Director of the firm, said the virtual reality booth was meant to enable Nigerians experience some of the nation’s tourism sites at one spot.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the virtual reality gadget is a simulation of an existing tourism location composed of a sequence of videos or images which may involve some multimedia elements such as sound effects, music, narration and text.

This entailed an individual wearing the virtual reality gadget view some tourists sites through a 3D  360 video on a spot without visiting the sites physically.

Lawson said this was deliberate to transform Nigeria’s tourism industry as most Nigerians were not aware of the enormous tourism assets the nation was endowed with.

He said it would be appropriate for Nigerians to be conscious of their tourism endowments before those assets could be accepted and patronised by the international community.

“This is a dream come through for me because I have always wanted to enlighten Nigerians on how blessed the nation is in terms of tourism assets.

“The virtual tourism is a marketing tool for destinations in Nigeria; this will open people’s eyes to most of these beautiful sites and at the same time create the thirst in them to visit.

“This booth will be operational everyday of the week and it comes with a token but free for all today.

“Presently, we have 3D  360 videos on ground, four virtual reality gadgets and a mobile virtual reality gadget for corporate organisations and events because we are bringing tourism into events.

“We are  preaching relaxation to Nigerians because we do not have that culture of relaxation which is important,” he said.

Lawson said the experience the virtual tourism offers was projected to also give birth to other businesses for tour operators and others in the tourism value chain.

He said that the virtual reality booths would be built in other African countries to sell Africa content when the firm was well equipped with the needed funds.

According to him, virtual tourism booths would be opened also in Abuja and Port Harcourt in the first quarter of 2020 to enable other people in the other parts of the country benefit from the experience.

“I implore everyone to avail themselves of the opportunity to see all that the nation is blessed with; we have 7 destinations packaged in the virtual reality gadgets and before December we should have up to 20 destinations.

“This will be done as soon as we get invites from destinations,” he said.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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