Nigeria tourism is set to turn the bend as the trio of Avantgarde Tours Limited, Afro Tourism West Africa Limited and Rewards Travels and Tours Limited, team up to excite the travel industry with a new platform, Nigeria Travel Week (NTW), which is not only meant to be a befitting end of year event but a window to promoting Nigeria.
Speaking during the media unveiling of the new travel project, the Managing Director of Avantgarde Tours Limited, Efetobo Awhana, who is also the CEO of NTW and spearheading this epoch making platform, disclosed that it is gear at promoting domestic tourism by making Nigerians see need to patronise the country’s tourism as it targets 20% of Nigerians exploring the country in the next five years with over 20 million direct and indirect jobs created.
According to him, NTW ‘‘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.’’
The over one week event, billed to hold betweenNovember 20 and 29, including pre and post event hosted buyers familiarisation tours, he said is 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.
The goals as revealed by him include to achieve 20% of Nigerians travelling Nigeria in five years and tocreate 2,000,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2022 as it impresses it on the Nigeria public that travel increases creativity, boosts health, improves satisfaction and happiness; Nigeria as a destination worth first consideration for leisure and short breaks and that travelling 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
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 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.
Awhana also disclosed that the activities slated for the platform, which include media (Radio and TV) tour, ffamiliarisation tours, travel roundtable, ttourism Cup (Golf), vvillage square, travel hangoutand NNigeria tourism awards, would hold at different locations, such as: Wheatbaker Hotel, Freedom Park, Ikoyi Club, 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 from 24 countries have already signed up as hosted buyers.
Some of the countries 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.
If there is one thing that Awhana and his team are confident about is the fact that NTW has the ability to transform Nigeria and its tourism landscape as he promised that everything possible would be done to ensure that this first outing set the tone and pace for the platform, which he said is envisaged as a yearly event and would form part of the country’s tourism calendar.