The tourism industry in Nigeria is poised for a major boost as the organizers of Nigeria Travel Week unveil the nominees for The Balearica Awards. At a press conference in Lagos, the CEO of Nigeria Travel Week, Efetobo Awhana, revealed the statuette for the awards and the story behind the design. The Balearica Awards is the climax of the upcoming week-long tourism promotion event, Nigeria Travel Week, holding at different venues in Lagos from 20 – 25 November.
The awards consist of 24 categories with 20 of the categories being voted for by the traveling public while four of the categories are not being voted for but selected based on the antecedents and contributions of the people in the category.
Some of the nominated names and organisations include: BEST TOURISM GOVERNOR – The nominees are: Lagos, Rivers, Bauchi, Ondo and Akwa Ibom; TRAVEL PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – BANKOLE BERNARD, PRESIDENT, NANTA, ROYAL SUPPORT FOR TOURISM – OONI IF IFE OBA ADEYEYE ENITAN OGUNWUSIN OJAJA II AND LIFT ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS – FORMER PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO.
The CEO of Nigeria Travel Week disclosed that there was a deliberate purpose for the non-voting categories as their research showed that there is a disconnect between the perception in the general public and the real knowledge in the industry by stakeholders. This he said is also one of the key issues as tourism stakeholders do not advertise and as such Nigerians do not really know much about what is going on in the industry. He announced the winners for the non-voting categories as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for Lifetime Achievement Award. He created the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, instituted the Presidential and developed the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library which is one of the best tourism products in the country today. Mr. Bernard Bankole is the winner of the Tourism Personality of the Year for his vibrant advocacy for travel and domestic tourism in the last 10 months. The Ooni of Ife will be receiving the award for Royal Support for Tourism to highlight the active role His Imperial Majesty has played in promoting domestic tourism in Nigeria. The award emphasizes the role traditional rulers and monarchs play in tourism development.
While for the voting categories some of the nominees are: BEST TOURISM ATTRACTION NIGERIA – IDANRE, NIKE ART GALLERY, CALABAR CARNIVAL, KAJURU CASTLE KADUNA, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND KANO DURBAR; BEST AIRLINE DOMESTIC – MEDVIEW, AIR PEACE AND DANA AIR; BEST TOUR OPERATORS – JEMI ALADE TOURS, TRAVELNEXTDOOR, MOTLEY TRAVELS, SJ TOURS, IBOM TOURISM, TOUR2NIGERIA AND REMLORDS TOURS and BEST RESORT: WHISPERING PALM, LA CAMPAGNE TROPICANA BEACH RESORT, ABRAKA TURF AND COUNTRY CLUB, LE MERIDIEN UYO AND GREEN LEGACY RESORT.
All Nigerians can go online at www.nigeriatourismawards.com to vote for their preferred nominees. Participants can only vote once using their real names as voters stand a chance to win exciting travel prices both domestic and international. The winners will be unveiled by the auditors of the awards on the 25th of November at The Balearica Awards Gala at Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos. Toni opined that the auditing of the awards will raise the stakes in the industry as the winners will be able to proudly display their status knowing they got the votes of the Nigerian public.
The Balearica is named and designed after the Black Crowned Crane. The Black Crowned Crane is the national bird of Nigeria. Countries have national animals and plants as symbols for tourism promotion. The amazing statuette is 230mm by 217mm made of 24ct gold plated aluminum with black acrylic.
The COO of Nigeria Travel Week, Toni Ukachukwu, disclosed that Nigeria Travel Week has been endorsed by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), and SKAL International Lagos. The strategic partnership with FTAN, which is the umbrella body of all tourism associations in Nigeria and SKAL International Lagos, shows the importance Nigeria Travel Week has placed on getting all stakeholders onboard this exciting project to get Nigerians to travel Nigeria.
He also revealed that 52 Hosted Delegates from 23 countries have been confirmed for Nigeria Travel Week. They are international tour operators, travel agents, travel media, and photographers. Countries represented include Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Israel, Kenya, Mozambique, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, US, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. They will be touring different ecotourism and cultural attractions in Nigeria and posting their experiences on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Efetobo called on organizations to take advantage of Nigeria Travel Week to show their unflinching support for the Nigerian project especially as tourism is the biggest industry in the world and has a potential to boost the economy of the country drastically. He revealed that key organizations are in talks with the organizers about partnerships and sponsorships adding that these will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Other events taking place during the Nigeria Travel Week include The Tourism Cup holding at Ikoyi Club Golf Course which is a golf tournament to harness the power of golf in promoting tourism; The Travel Roundtable holding at The Wheatbaker Hotel which brings stakeholders to discuss key issues for tourism development; Village Square holding at Freedom Park celebrates Nigerian culture through drama dance and food; and the Travel Hangout where Nigerians can network and talk about tourism in the relaxed natural environment of the Lekki Conservation Centre.