#NigeriaTravelWeek Targets 40 million Domestic Travellers in 5 years
Nigerian tourism is set to turn the bend as the organizers of Nigeria Travel Week unveil an exciting annual tourism event to debut in November 2017. Speaking about the new tourism project, the Managing Director of Avantgarde Tours Limited, Efetobo Awhana, who is also the CEO of Nigeria Travel Week, disclosed that it is geared at promoting domestic tourism by making Nigerians see the need to patronise the country’s tourism as it targets 20% of Nigerians exploring the country in the next five years with over 2 million direct and indirect jobs created. According to him, NTW ‘‘is a multi – day tourism event platform that aims to drive the Nigerian tourism sector by bringing together buyers, consumers, travel technologies, tourism/travel service providers and the media to network, review and discuss the development of tourism in Nigeria.’’ The event, billed to hold between November 20 and 25, includes pre and post-event hosted delegates familiarisation tours. Objectives of the Nigeria Travel Week include to help nurture healthy leisure lifestyles and change the ‘Nigerian’ perception that travel is luxury; To promote domestic tourism in Nigeria and thus ensure a proper balance in the ‘Africans travelling Africa’ campaign on the continent; and to change the media and general narrative of Nigeria as a “Boko Haram and Corruption Country” to a Rich Ecotourism and Cultural Tourism Destination. The goals as revealed by him include to achieve 20% of Nigerians travelling Nigeria in the next five years and to create 2,000,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2022 as it impresses it on the Nigerian public that travel increases creativity, boosts health, improves satisfaction and happiness; Nigeria as a destination is worth first consideration for leisure and short breaks and that travelling Nigeria and Africa helps fight poverty in Nigeria and on the African continent. The message NTW will be passing to the international community is that Nigeria as a destination is endowed with unique tourism attractions and an array of tourism investment opportunities. Towards this end, the project, which he has tagged as a massive campaign to get Nigerians to travel Nigeria, is expected to attract about 5, 000 people over the duration and will among others generate buzz and discussions on domestic tourism; get Nigeria trending for the right reasons over 10 days; publicise destinations around Nigeria; help in data collation of travellers and tourism statistics in Nigeria and create awareness of the benefits of travel in-country and on the continent. Awhana also disclosed that the activities slated for the platform, which include Familiarisation Tours, Travel Roundtable, Tourism Cup (Golf), Village Square, Travel Hangout and Nigeria Tourism Awards, would hold at different locations, such as: The Wheatbaker Hotel, Freedom Park, Ikoyi Club Golf Course, Lekki Leisure Lake and Federal Palace Hotel. He urged corporate bodies and government ministries, departments and agencies to take advantage of this history making platform to expose their products and services to the international audience, beside Nigerians as over 50 international delegates made up of tour operators, travel agents, travel media and bloggers from 24 countries have already signed up as hosted delegates. Some of the countries from which delegates have been confirmed are: Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Israel, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, US, and Zambia. The CEO of Afro Tourism, who are one of the principal partners of the project, Toni Ukachukwu, expressed confidence in the fact that NTW will transform the tourism landscape in Nigeria and he promised that everything possible would be done to ensure that this first outing sets the tone and pace for the platform, which is a yearly event that would form a key part of the continent’s tourism calendar. Afro Tourism is a member of Africa Travel Association (ATA) and an affiliate member of United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The third principal partner is Rewards Travels & Tours, one of the leading travel agencies in Nigeria. As expected, the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) is also heavily involved in the project, with the Director General, Mr Folorunso Folarin-Coker expressing his delight at the private sector driven project which aligns with his corporation’s goals.