Deep Thoughts On Nigeria’s Sleeping Tourism Industry
The Anambra Economic Summit held in Awka few weeks ago. I was the Lead Panelist for the Tourism and Hospitality session. My 3rd state so Far. I Spoke at the Enugu State Economic Summit 2017 Oganihu. In 2018 I spoke at the Lagos Tourism Summit. 2019 is Anambra state. Surprisingly most of the Summits end as Optics.
I wonder if I should agree to participate in another state summit. Governor Ben Ayade did not organise a Summit. He called me Privately and after Discussions asked me to help implement his Vision for the International Carnival at Carnival Calabar. In Lagos I spoke about MICE but started by dropping an Insight that Lagos as the Centre of Aquatic Excellence should have a Marina.
There is water every Where but nobody is using it for Tourism. No V&A in Lagos,No Corniche ,No Maleçon waterfront in the City. Please don’t Mention Eko Atlantic. I was told.of Badagry and I went there. There is an attempt in Badagry but it is not yet there.
In Enugu I also discussed MICE. I offered an Insight about Masquerade and the Chimaroke Nnamani conference centres along with a Convention Bureau as a take off point.
In Anambra I also discussed MICE. I went further to share some Insights using examples nearby. Asaba was transformed by just one Hotel.built by Chief Sunny Odogwu Grand Hotel with 2000sq metres of Conference space and 110 rooms.
It gave rise to a hotel growth that transformed the town. Argungu is a little known town in Sokoto state but because of Argungu Fishing Festival it has the only 3 star Hotel outside Sokoto town.(Before the creation of Kebbi State)
Calabar had about 150 rooms in 1999 can count more than 5000rooms by 2018 just because of carnival Calabar. Kigali Rwanda today has more Chain hotels than any town it’s size in Africa and Number 2 in conferencing in Africa after Cape Town.
I told the Audience that only 2 Hotels Senegambia and Kairaba anchors the whole Gambian Tourism Cluster that is West Africa’s Tourism Success Story.
I wondered why Anambra people that own 60% of the hotels in Abuja do not have Quality Hotels in the state. I wondered why Anambra with the biggest markets in West Africa that are built in Clusters yet there is no Tourism.Cluster similar to the Gambian Kololi Cluster.
My suggestion is a cluster around Agulu Lake already with the Golden Tulip Hotel. I suggested they energise an event to global standards.
I left the state with a secret message of a global event that will change the Tourism situation of Anambra in 12 months.
My thoughts are clear. Nigeria is not yet ready for Leisure Tourism but has advantages in many areas. My insight is to drive those areas of comparative advantages in Tourism. Only Cross River State has courageously implemented one of the ideas. Most states do not have the will to implement intangible Tourism ideas.
May God give us capacity to implement Viable Tourism Ideas. The only Tourism most states know is to build hotels and Copy Carnival Calabar. There is a whole lot that can be done. I will.keep accepting offers to speak to Governors but I will be happier if they implement some of the ideas discussed
Tourism and Hospitality panel
Gabe Onah Chairman Carnival Calabar Commission ,Ngozi Ngoka FTAN VP South East , Dr.Nikky Okoye of Anabel Phones,Sally Mbanefo Commissioner of Tourism Anambra state ,Valentine Ozigbo President of Transcorp and Ikechi Uko
Article by Ikechi Uko, Organizer Akwaaba African Travel Market