How Nigeria can turn its tourism potential into a strong revenue generating industry will form the focus of the Nigeria Travel Week when stakeholders converge on a number places in Lagos for the programme next week.
This year’s event, according to a statement by the organisers, has its theme as ‘Harnessing the creative tourism potential of culture-rich destinations’.
It quoted the Chief Executive Officer of Avantgarde Tours, Efetobo Awhana, the initiator of the programme, as saying the event would not just be about marketing Nigeria as a tourism destination, but positioning the country to start making money from tourism.
He said, “Nigeria is behind when it comes to tourism in Africa. When we consider the size of our population, our economy and every other factor, we would realise that we lose billions in foreign exchange by not tapping into the vast potential that tourism has to offer. As small as Rwanda is (both in landmass and population), they made $400m last year alone from gorilla tracking, yet they don’t have what Nigeria has. They charge $1,500 for tracking one gorilla. If one gorilla earns the country that much, what is Nigeria doing with its gorillas?
“There is a need to change the country’s narrative from bad to good and not focus on oil as we have in the past, but diversify the economy by portraying Nigeria in a positive light as a place where tourists from all over the world can come to have a good time. And this would in turn contribute to the growth of the economy.”
The statement gave the activities for the week-long event as the ‘Upbeat Experience’, which would hold on Sunday, November 17, at Upbeat Centre, a family amusement park; ‘The Travel Roundtable’ scheduled for Wednesday, November 20, at the Muson Centre; tours to choice locations in Lagos and Ogun states; Nigeria Tourism Awards (The Balearica Awards) at the Federal Palace Hotel, which would be followed by an after-party at the Hard Rock Café.
The ‘Tourism Hangout’ fixed for La Campagne Tropicana is expected to round off the programme.