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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

Seven Wonders of Naija Sets Nigerian Tourism on Fire

Updated: Aug 26



Let's face it. Nigeria is not known to have a sustainable tourism industry, especially for the inbound market. The tourism attractions in Nigeria and their enormous business potentials are not fully known to the world, and even to the Nigerian consumer. But that's changing. In terms of sustainable tourism, Nigeria is not in the same league with countries like Italy, Spain, Kenya, Dubai and South Africa. But that's changing too. The tourism trend in Nigeria is taking a new turn, and it's been driven by the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project. Ikechi Uko, the Organizer of the annual Akwaaba Travel Market, is in the driver's seat. And in case, you haven't noticed, the Nigerian tourism space has been set on fire. The fire is raging far and wide. It’s fast and it's furious.


It's probably not the kind of fire you had in mind, but Nigerian tourism has been set on fire. The kind of fire it has never experienced before. Seven Wonders of Nigeria Season 2, through it webinar series, has caused a revolution and positive disruptions in the Nigerian tourism space. Founded by ikechi Uko and organised by Travellers Magazine, the First Travel Magazine in West Africa, the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project is dedicated to repositioning Nigeria as a tourism brand. Tourism is the largest employer of labour around the world, but that’s not currently the case in Nigeria. But the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project is already changing this narrative, the project is rewriting history.


With series of zoom webinars dedicated to uncovering tourist attractions in Nigeria, the season 2 of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project has already done an excellent job in giving the Nigeria tourism industry a new lease of life. Yet, this is just the preliminary, the ground is only being watered. But not only is the Seven Wonders of Nigeria exposing tourists to many new ways of enjoying experiential tourism, it's also exposing stakeholders to the business side of tourism. It's connecting tourism investors to and with a whole new batch of untapped business opportunities. The message is that, while tourism elicits pleasure, it can be sustainable and profitable. The Seven Wonders of Nigeria has launched a brand new accent on this.


You must be a super sophisticated tourism snub to not acknowledge the successes the webinars have already achieved. It's impossible not to see them. With 10 episodes in the bag and a few more to go, the Seven Wonders of Nigeria webinars have already sparked off an unprecedented level of interest in the Nigerian tourism space. Nigeria is now on fire. The disruptions have been massive, the engagement has been overwhelming and the conversations have been trending. A new level of tourism interest has been reawakened in Nigerian by Nigerians and for Nigerians. It has never been this intense. Over 700 Travel Professionals have participated in the webinar series while over 145 tourist destinations in Nigeria have been highlighted.


Domestic tourism in Nigeria has already received a massive boost. From the new revelations to the old regulars, tourist attractions across Nigeria are experiencing a surge in activities. In particular, Idere Hills in Oyo State, Mpape Crushed Rocks in Abuja, Lagos and Akwa Ibom beaches as well as destinations in Badagry are enjoying an unprecedented level of patronage. Perhaps, the most significant achievement of the project so far, is that it has crossed political, ethnic and religious lines to unite tourism stakeholders for a common goal which is to sell Nigeria to Nigerians. There's a renewed interest and commitment from Nigerian tour operators and travel media in the Nigerian domestic market. The project has made 'collaboration' the new competition among tour operators.


From June till date, the weekly Zoom webinar has featured many heavyweights in the tourism and hospitality industry including the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, the DG of NTDC Folurunsho Coker, Former Commissioner of Tourism Lagos Steve Ayorinde, the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Mr. Mesewaku, Chairman of Carnival Calabar Gabe Onah, FTAN President Rabo Saleh, NATOP President Hajia Bilkisu Abdul, NANTA President Susan Akporiaye, NATOP BOT Chairman Nkereuwem Onung, and a former UN Tourism Queen, Ebele Enemchukwu who brought her unmistakable signature queen's touch to the table. Many high profile personalities including Government officials from several states have also participated.


The major activities of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria Project will commence later in November 2020. It's expected to last for 12 months. The ultimate aim of the project is to unveil the Top 7 Attractions in Nigeria following nominations by State Governments and stakeholders in September. Not an easy task, if you ask me. From an initial shortlisted list of the Top 50 attractions in Nigeria, rounds of voting will determine the top 25 before being pruned down to The Top 7 Tourism Attractions in Nigeria. There'll be pecks, there’ll be recognitions and there’ll be awards at every stage of the selection. Voting will be by the general public while members of the Tourism 100 Club will act as Judges for the final result.


The Seven Wonders of Nigeria Season 2 is set to give the Nigerian tourism industry a new voice - the kind of voice it has never had before. The project will set Nigeria on fire and reposition it as a major player in the tourism space. And Nigerians are already bullish about the outcome. If you love tourism or the business of tourism, you should identify with the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project. For sponsorship and partnerships, please contact the organizers on 080 2692-0561 or 070 89254550 or send an email to info@naija7wonder.com


#HospitalityandTourism #OpinionandAnalysis

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