The tourism industry had a brighter show in 2017 despite the fact that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was merged into the Ministry of Information, Culture and National Orientation with Alhaji Lai Mohammed as the supervising Minister.
It should be noted that the submerging of the Tourism Ministry initially created a lull in the activities of the tourism practitioners, but the sectoral players woke up to the reality of making use of what is available because of the scrapping of what is necessary.
Ooni Cultural–Tourism Agenda
The first blessing and stoker of the embers of 2017 tourism sector was the installation of Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II as the Ooni of Ife.
As if sent by the god of tourism to revive the sector, Oba Ogunwusi immediately after his enthronement announced and unveiled to the world his cultural–tourism agenda of enhancing Ile–Ife, the source of a humankind, cradle of civilization and the spiritual home of the Yoruba as the global tourism destination of the era.
And without wasting time, the Ooni firstly inaugurated the construction and planting of a multi-billion naira hotel and resort in Ile Ife, which is almost at the completion stage.
The hotel and resort is a preparatory provision for the expected deluge of visitors and tourists which the Ooni’s cultural–tourism agenda will cultivate to Ile–Ife.
After, he unequivocally declared Ife as a tourism zone and stimulated the wooing of Ambassadors and diplomatic visit to Ile–Ife where tourism pacts and M. O U. were signed in relation to the revitalisation and rejuvenation of the cultural- tourism of the Yoruba.
And since he declared Ile–Ife, a Tourism Zone on February 26, 2017, the beat of tourism activities has continued to resonate unending in Ile–Ife.
The Ooni has also ensured the branding of Olojo Festival first at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos and then in Enuwa Palace, Lagos while various cultural–tourism activities have set Ile–Ife aglow.
Ooni Ogunwusi has also taken his Yoruba cultural–tourism agenda to US, Britain, Canada, and other Caribbean countries where the Yoruba culture permeates their cultural identification.
Senator Matthew Urhoghide and Senate Tourism Committee:
The birth of NTDC and NIHOTOUR 2017 Amendment BILLS.
One of the fundamental achievements of the tourism sector in 2017 was the initiation and subsequent passing of two bills at the Senate, which were solely the handiwork of the then Chairman Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide who ensured that the two bills: a Bill that will repeal the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Act, 2004 and enacted the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) Act, 2017, and the Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of National institute for Hospitality and Tourism( NIHOTOUR) were passed.
FOLARIN Coker launches Tour Nigeria
The Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation. (NTDC), Mr Folorunso Folarin Coker, on assumption of office endeared the Nigeria tourism to the world by offering a branding named code name ‘Tour Nigeria’.
According to him, Nigerians should first of all integrate themselves into the domestic tourism potentialities of their own country before inviting others
Tour Nigeria is another story of success the tourism sector garnered in 2017 as it has cultivated and magnetised foreign concerns and entities from South–Africa and Europe scrambling to Tour Nigeria.
Motherland Beckons AIM Festival to Nigeria
For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the tourism sector stoked by Dr Wanle Akinboboye, proponent of Motherland Beckons and President La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, gathered 54 musicians from all African countries under the banner of Africa International Music Festival for a non- stop performance for 48 hours at Ikegun, Village, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
The show which attracted over 34 Ambassadors and diplomats, delegates from Turkey, Hungary and South–Africa was described by Mr Lawrence Omidiora, General Manager, OAU investments as “one of the finest moments of tourism industry in Africa.”
Ajimobi hosts ASO Ofi Tourism Expo
It was also the year that the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi authenticated and publicly showcased sincere desire to utilize the tourism sector for empowerment and revenue generation in his state when he organised and hosted the Aso Ofi Tourism expo.
An expo where the grower of cotton, the weaver of cotton wool into thread and the blenders of the thread into Aso ofi met the buyers and consumers of Aso Ofi in a tourism economic summit of everlasting effect in Iseyin.
Olokun Festival Foundation promotes 16 events
The cultural–tourism firmament of the country was fired up by the Olokun Festival Foundation which promoted and sponsored 16 cultural festivals in Nigeria.
The foundation founded by Otunba Gani Adams as an answer to uphold and enhance the dying cultural heritage of the Yoruba successfully packaged and sponsored vibrant festivals which boosted not only the cultural fever, but the economy of the communities.
According to Oba Menutoyi Akran of Badagry “The 2017 Olokun Festival held in Badagry is an economic blessing to the city .The economy of the city is always buoy by the influx of tourists and members of the Oodua people’s Congress who witnessed the festival.
U.S. Ambassador visits Obudu, Drill Ranch
United States Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symington last year embarked on a two-day visit of the Obudu Mountains and the Drill Ranch on the Afi Mountains of Cross River State.
Ambassador Symington sought to learn more about Nigeria’s unique natural resources. Following the completion of the tour, Ambassador Symington spoke to an audience of senior government officials and leaders of non-government organisations involved in environmental issues, including Pandrillus, Ekuri Initiative, Wildlife Conservation Society, Nigerian Conservation Foundation and the Obudu Conservation Centre, at an event held in Calabar, to commemorate the 2017 Earth Day.
Hi- Impact Planet Amusement Park closes 2017 with 12 Magic days of fun
Prince Adeyanju Lipede, President, Hi – Impact Planet Amusement Park, an oases of fun facilities and wondrous entertainment instrument located on kilometre 12, Lagos Ibadan Express Way, opposite Mountain Top University launched the best high speed Water floam facility as an additional features of the park.
The planet, boasts of state-of-the-art facilities such as luxurious apartments, a well-equipped clinic, multi-purpose halls, and souvenir court with a variety of gifts.
The park has three different food courts catering to specific needs of guests on the park by providing delicious and tasty indigenous, continental and intercontinental cuisines, mouth-watering pastries and ice-cream at the dessert bar and sumptuous pasta, sharwama and pizza at the park pizzeria for guests’ satisfaction at all times.”
The fun facilities include, animatronics, including semi-live lions, gorillas, fun food court, food court, enterprise ride, 90 toilets for convenience, souvenir court, bumper cars, eye-combat games, 40-metre high spring ride, a freestyler that simulates surfing, kite flyer, hoopla, dream machine, ferry spin, samba balloon, Mexican theatre, a 10-seater Hi-Impact air plane, a multi-purpose hall with acoustics for stage production, railways, 5-D cartoon animation studio, imax cinema and watermania.
To cap it all, Hi–Impact Planet Amusement Park stunned the global entertainment scene when it packaged and came out with the first ever Nigeria’s inter–year bouquets of events Christened ‘12 days of Magic This Christmas’ which commenced on December 22 and will end on January 6, 2018. It was a buffet of fun which was the first and the best of its kinds in Nigeria.
Starting from not too impressive form, year 2017 was able to adjust to the reality of the recession and ensured that fundamental legal structures were planted for the germination of tourism business in Nigeria via the two Bills passed by the Senate and the interesting events all through.
We await the goodies of 2018