SPOTLIGHT ON TOURISM

Nigeria 2018 | TOURISM | FOCUS: TOURISM MARKETING

Early 2018 proves Nigeria's commitment to marketing its tourism opportunities by showcasing the country to the world.

In a string of announcements in the beginning of 2018, Nigeria signaled to the world that it hopes to improve its tourism marketing to bring further business into the sector—diversifying the economy and spreading the wealth.

One of the easiest ways to bring tourists to the West African country is to publish an annual tourism calendar, showcasing Nigeria's plethora of conferences, carnivals, festivals, and other events. Steve Ayorinde, the Lagos State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, announced plans for the inaugural calendar at the 2018 Tourism Innovation and Development Advantage (TIDA) conference held in February. The commissioner also confirmed his support for using innovative technologies, such as virtual reality, to further promote Lagos and Nigeria tourism, envisioning a greater role for technology in the entire tourism value chain. Lagos State is also exploring the establishment of a tourism promotion council.
The new council could emphasize the changing hotel scene. Leaders in the hotel industry are looking to expand their offerings, largely catering to Nigeria's young population.
With new brands, Bon Hotels International's Executive Director West Africa Bernard Cassar told TBY that the group is becoming more proactive in 2018. Cassar shared, “We will launch Bon Hotel X, a funky, edgy, different brand as it is now time to bring that brand to Nigeria."
Bon Hotels International is also looking outside of Lagos, hoping to use tourism and marketing to promote economic activity in northern cities and change perceptions. The Executive Director continued, “2018 will be the year that the first international hospitality group breaks into the northern market, which will be extremely interesting and exciting for us."
Industry stakeholders are excited about the new efforts to endorse Nigeria as a worthwhile leisure and business tourism destination but are quick to add that a master tourism plan and further support from the government is still lacking. While they anticipate a more wide-reaching tourism plan, Abuja is busy preparing for the UN World Tourism Organization's Commission for Africa in June 2018—another platform to market Nigeria's tourism and hospitality sector.