By VICTOR NZE
Three firms; the Avantgarde Tours Limited, Afro Tourism West Africa Limited and Rewards Travels and Tours Limited, have concluded plans to lift Nigeria travel and tourism sector as they unveil a novel initiative, tagged: , the Nigeria Travel Week (NTW), a platform for promoting domestic market set to hold at end of the year.
Speaking during a media forum to unveil the project, at the NANTA House, Lagos, Managing Director of Avantgarde Tours Limited, Efetobo Awhana, who is also the CEO of NTW and arrowhead of the project, said the initiative is designed to lift the country’s waning domestic tourism by helping Nigerians see the need to patronise Nigeria’s numerous domestic tourism products s even as the event targets 20 per cent of consumers in the next five years with over 20 million direct and indirect jobs set to be created.
NTW will be is a multi – day tourism event platform that aims to drive the Nigeria 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,” Awhana said.
The over one-week event, billed to hold between November 20 and 29, including pre and post event hosted buyers familiarisation tours, according to him, is further aimed at achieving the following: 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.
“We want to corner 20 per cent of the Nigerian market involving the travelling category in five years and to create 2,000,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2022 as we seek to impresses it on the Nigerians that travel increases creativity, boosts health, improves satisfaction and happiness; Nigeria as a destination should be the first consideration for leisure and short breaks and that travelling across Nigeria and Africa helps fight poverty in Nigeria and on the African continent even as it shows the international community that Nigeria as a destination is endowed with unique tourism attractions and an array of tourism investment opportunities,” he added.
Continuing, Awhana stated that ‘the project, is expected to attract about 5, 000 people over the duration with youths and adult as the target audience, 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.’
He also disclosed that activities slated for the platform, which include media tours integrating both radio and television, familiarisation tours, a travel roundtable, a Tourism competition (Golf), village square, travel hangout and Nigeria Tourism Awards, would all hold at different locations, such as the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Freedom Park, Lagos, Ikoyi Club, Lekki Leisure Lake as well as the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He, therefore, urged corporate bodies and Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) to take advantage of this historic platform to expose their products and services to the international market, besides Nigerians as over 50 international delegates from 24 countries have already signed up as hosted buyers.
According to him, some of the countries are: Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Israel, Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States.
Thereafter, Awhana and his team expressed confidence that the forthcoming NTW ‘has the ability to transform Nigeria and its tourism landscape. Everything possible would be done to ensure that this first outing sets the tone and pace for the platform and would form part of the country’s tourism calendar.’