Nigeria maps out tourism master plan to diversify economy

Issues and information related to travel to and from Nigeria.

Nigeria maps out tourism master plan to diversify economy

Postby Richard Akindele » Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:34 am

The Nigerian government has mapped out a master plan to develop tourism to diversify its single- product economy, a senior Nigerian official said at the weekend.

Nigerian Federal Minister of Culture and Tourism Femi Fani- Kayode told a media interactive session in the nation's commercial capital Lagos that the tourism master plan was the roadmap for the development of Nigeria's tourism sector.

"Tourism master plan is an excellent blueprint and the way forward for tourism industry," he said, adding that "if we don't have such a plan, it will be difficult to ascertain where we are going."

The minister said the government would expedite action on the document to bring life into the sector. On the problem of funding, he said it was regrettable that lack of fund had hindered the growth and development of the sector, noting that the sector equally deserved the priority attention being given to the oil and gas.

"Our neglect of tourism sector over the years was as a result of our over-dependence on crude oil," he said.

The minister explained that countries like South Africa and Ghana spent millions of U.S. dollars to develop their tourism sector and later allowed the private sector to take it over.

He stressed the importance of the sector to Nigeria's economic advancement, which, he said, was a key to the current administration.

Fani-Kayode said he had initiated an ongoing discussion with President Olusegun Obasanjo to ensure a methodological financing through which the private sector would access cheap loans for the development of the sector.

He acknowledged the nation's tourism potentials in areas of culture, monument, beaches, and arts and crafts.

He said the ministry would carry out some reforms to enhance professionalism in marketing and promotion of the tourism potentials both locally and internationally.

Fani-Kayode urged private sectors both at home and abroad to complement the government's efforts in developing the sector, adding that with substantial funding, the tourism and culture sector would improve greatly.

The minister said he welcomed constructive criticism from the media, but cautioned against negative reports that could give the country a bad image.

Source: Xinhua
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Postby Richard Akindele » Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:47 am

Tourism? Sounds like a good idea, but have you people thought about the reputation Nigeria has around the world? I'm not sure anybody wants to spend their vacation in Nigeria.

Crime is rife. You people are so bad, you have a scam named after you - Nigerian 419 Scam, and nobody is doing a thing about it.

Before making any kind of plans about developing tourism, you've got to first clean up your image. In the developed world, image is everything.

Read the travel advisory put out by the US Dept of State:
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Thinking about your next vacation spot?

Postby Richard Akindele » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:30 pm

Consider a trip to Nigeria.

Africa has always been a favorite destination for African-American travelers, for many of whom West Africa is usually a "must see" region during vacations. The region has personal historical significance for the Americans.
But for the average North American, Nigeria, for a number of reasons, is not one of the first places that come to mind as a vacation spot. For one, the West African region is a little further afield than the Caribbean or South America and a round trip there adds a few extra hundred dollars to the price of the air ticket. But this is not the main reason why Nigeria, and West Africa in general, is not as popular as East or North Africa or the Caribbean for tourists. The chief reason is government neglect of the tourist industry.

For many decades the Nigerian tourism industry saw little new investment by the state. The traditional tourist attractions -- Game Reserves, Nature Reserves and Museums -- are maintained, but there is very little investment in the promotion of the industry. As a result not many people are aware of Nigeria's rich variety in tourist attractions.

The situation is beginning to change, however. There is a new government emphasis on tourism promotion by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation -, a subsidiary of the Federal Ministry Culture and Tourism.

Nigerian game and nature reserves may not be as co-extensive or heavily populated with animals as the East African reserves, but there are more of them, each unique in its own way and rich with wild life.

Apart from game reserves, there are museums with offerings of collections of art and cultural artifacts. But the most interesting cultural attractions are the traditional events and festivals that take place at different intervals throughout the year in different towns and communities across the country.
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Nigerian Tourism Overview

Postby Richard Akindele » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:36 pm

The Yankari Game Reserve is in the Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State, 115km from Bauchi town. It was upgraded to a National Park in 1991. The Park covers an area of 2,250.10 sq km.
Over 50 species of wild animals can be located in the Park, including baboons, elephants, hippos, hartebests and variety of birds and fishes.

There are natural formations such as the Marshall Cave Systems and the Wikki Springs, source of the Wikki River which provides cool and clear natural swimming facilities for visitors. Yankari Park contains several archeological preserves including the Dukkey Well System and the Ampara and Shanshau iron smelting works and furnace shafts dating back many centuries.

Yankari provides a variety of accomodations and facilities for visitors, from hostels for youth and budget travellers to chalets with indoor and outdoor sports facilities and a conference hall.

Cross River National Park
The Cross River National Park was conceived as a preserve of the last remaining Rain Forest ecosystem in Nigeria. It is located in south-eastern Nigeria. The Park is home to the famed Obudu Cattle Ranch.
It also has the Kanyang Tourist Village designed to accomodate eco-tourists.

Animal attractions in the Park include gorillas and other primates, the gwantibo or golden potto forest elephants and forest leopards.

Cultural Festivals
Ila Oso Uzuakoli
The Ila Oso Festival begins in the second week of December and ends a few days before Christmas. It is a special time in Uzuakoli, Abia State, a trooping of the colors when every age group from the youngest to the oldest march past in proud displays of artistic talents and other achievements. The event is highly competitive among the different age groups and the five villages that make up the town of Uzuakoli. Each village has one day during which its age groups march and dance through each of the five villages. On the last day of the ceremonies all the five villages meet in the main square in a colorful display of rivalry and camaraderie between villages and between age groups.

Kano Durbar
The historic old city of Kano is the site of this colorful festival of regal splendor, horsemanship and military displays. The Durbar festival, known as Hawan Daushe in the Hausa language, is held during the month of Ramadan in Nigeria. The actual dates vary from year to year, but it is always held during the Id-el Kabir. The event is held within the walled city in front of the Emir's palace. During the ceremony, groups of colorfully attired nobles and soldiers on colorfully decorated horses parade through the streets on their way to play homage to the emir.

Iko Okochi Afikpo
This is an annual event that takes place in Afikpo, Ebonyi State from the last week of November to the second week of December. Iko Okochi is described as a friendship festival incorporating ceremonies of rites of passage.

The festival begins with the Iko Onuoka "Masked Warrior Dance" and "Beauty Pageant" The greatest warrior and the most beautiful maiden are selected at the Iko Onuoka.

The Festival concludes with the Iko Okochi when young men just come of age are initiated into the Ogo Age Group. This is followed by a spectacularly colorful parade of over 200 masquerades.

The actual dates for these events may vary from year to year. To find out the exact date for this year's celebrations call Afikpo

Calendar of Cultural Events & Celebrations

Kagoro Festival: A year-end cultural celebration by the people of Kagoro, Kaduna State. It takes place within the first week of January each year.

Njuwa-Ibi Fishing Festival: An annual event in Ibi, Taraba State Pategi Boat Regata: An event of the people of Pategi, Kwara State.

Biapkan Festival: Held in remembrance of the Slave Trade Era. There are re-enactments of events of the slave trade as remembered by the people of Biapkan, Biase, Cross River State
Ovie Ovese Festival: A rite of passage ceremony for young virgins in Ogoriland in Kogi State. It signifies the maturity of the girls into adulthood and their readiness for marriage.

Abia Ukwu Festival: A friendship festival of the people of Edda Afikpo in Ebonyi State. It climaxes in sacrifices, for a rich harvest, to the god of fertility. The event ends with a female wrestling match.

Sango Festival: A Celebration of Sango, the Yoruba god of thunder. It is held in Oyo State.

Barakan Festival: A mass marriage celebration of the people of Potiskun in Kebbi State.

Slave Route Festival: A commemorative event held in Badagry, a major out-shipment port during the slave trade.
Ogun Festival: A celebration of Ogun, the god of iron, held during the second week in Ijero, Ekiti State.

Osun Osogbo Festival: Annual worship of Osun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility, held in the second week in Oshogbo

Igede Agba Festival: Held during the first week, the Igede Agba is a celebration of the new yam by the Igede people of Benue State.

Awon Festival: Another mass marriage ceremony held in the second week of the month in Shao, Kwara State.

Kwagh-hir Puppet Theatre: A major exhibition of the folk art and story-telling of the Tiv people, held in all major town of Tivland, Benue State.

Igue Festival: No mourning is allowed during this period of rejoicing for the Oba (king) of Benin, Edo State
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Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:37 pm

The history of the Nigerian people is a long and involved one. The states of Kanem and Borno, which flourished on the shores of Lake Chad from about AD 10 onwards, were the first imperial states in the region. Their wealth was founded on control of trans-Saharan trade routes. From the 11th to 14th centuries, the Islamic Hausa city-states were also a dominant influence, while in the southwest, the Yoruba cities became major trading centres.

In the 15th century, the Portuguese began trading but, by the end of the 19th century, the British had conquered present-day Nigeria. After gradual internal self-government, full independence was achieved in 1960.

Since then, the country has endured numerous changes of government. Nigeria's army has chosen to intervene on several occasions to thwart a perceived threat to the integrity of the nation. The greatest crisis came about in the mid-1960s, when the eastern part of the country – styling itself the ‘Republic of Biafra’ – attempted to secede. A three-year (1967-70) civil war followed, at the end of which the secessionists were defeated.

Nevertheless, military overthrow, coups and assassination followed over many years. After the annulled 1993 elections, Sani Abacha emerged as the new military strongman and presided over an increasingly oppressive regime. Then, in 1998, Abacha suddenly died. Another member of the military junta, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, took over and moved quickly to shed the country’s pariah status by organising elections. The victor, standing for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was the former military ruler of the 1970s, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The inexperienced civilian government faced a formidable task. Apart from the dire economic situation, there was growing religious conflict. A particular problem was the decision of several local and regional governments in the mainly Muslim north to introduce a version of Islamic Shari'a law, very unpopular amongst non-Muslim minorities. Hundreds were killed in inter-communal clashes in 2000 and again in 2002.

Tensions have been so high that almost any dispute can set off a spate of violence. Yet, for all its domestic difficulties, Nigeria remains the major regional power and its troops intervened in a number of conflicts throughout West Africa during the 1990s. Regional stability of the West African region has become a major international issue in recent years since the discovery of new oil and gas deposits in West African waters, and recent events in the Middle East.

As has been illustrated, Nigeria's greatest asset – its wealth of native races and religions, its vibrant population, the largest of any country in Africa – have also proven its downfall on countless explosive occasions.

It is a shame that Nigeria is not currently able to entice visitors other than those seeking a slice of the oil dollar. After all, this country is blessed with hundreds of miles of coastline, national parks and fascinating ancient sites.
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