DUE to negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism and travel this will be the best time to develop and grow Brand Nigeria and domestic tourism hence the launch of Season 2 Naija7Wonders Project to drive tourism recovery and showcase the huge tourism resources of Nigeria
The project will last for 12 months starting from November 2020 and is promoted by Travellers Magazine and atqnews.com the biggest travel news platform in Africa, the first edition was endorsed by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2010 and ended in 2012.
The organizers also seek to partner with relevant government agencies and private sector players to accomplish this huge task because tourism is private sector driven but supported and led hugely by government the relevant government agencies have been contacted by organisers to lend their weight in driving the project to a successful end.
As Nigeria marks its 60th anniversary there is a need to create a new sense of national pride and develop a communal love for our country the theme of the season 2 is taken from the old national anthem “Though Tribe and Tongue may differ in Brotherhood we Stand”, according to Project Director and Publisher atqnews.com/Travellers Magazine, Ikechi Uko
The need to get Nigerians to Love Nigeria is the main reason for the search for the Seven Wonders of Nigeria. To Grow National Pride in the Brand Nigeria
Tourism is the largest employer of labour globally and there is no reason why this should not be the same in Nigeria.
The Naija7wonders Project as it is tagged is to select and position some national icons that can be promoted domestically and internationally. People do not visit where they do not know.
The search itself will draw the attention of Nigerians to the long forgotten beauties, the often ignored and sometimes downgraded phenomenal treasures of Nigeria.
Private sector players in the tourism community and members of the Tourism 100 Club have decided to pursue this as a national duty to promote and share images and destinations to all and sundry as a way of generating tourism traffic to these destinations.
The first part of the project was initiated in the first week of June with a weekly Zoom Webinar on where to visit in Nigeria. The Webinar hosted 5 members every week that shared their favourite destinations in Nigeria and for 8 weeks over 100 destinations have been highlighted so far.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of information and Culture Deaconess Grace Gekpe and the DG of NTDC Folurunsho Coker had made appearances.
The 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, President of NATOP Hajia Bilkisu Abdul, President of NANTA Susan Akporiaye, Nkereuwem Onung the NATOP BOT Chairman have all Participated. So Many High profile personalities including Government officials from Taraba,Plateau, Osun and Nassarawa States have all Participated. Over 700 travel professionals have joined in. The first Phase is sensitization of the Tourism Professionals which is Ongoing.
The Project will involve nomination by State Governments and stakeholders in September. Shortlist will be unveiled in November.
Expeditions will then be organised to the sites by tour operators and media and a public vote will be done to select the winners. The Tourism 100 Club members who number up to 300 will act as judges for the final result.
A state or community can nominate any man made sites and natural sites that they want to be shortlisted for the search. A state or a community can register as many sites that it considers a national wonder.
The search is a modest effort by tourism professionals to bring to life Nigeria’s national heritage and tourism assets.
According to the organizers some of the benefits of nominated locations will include drawing attention to hidden features of the sites, attract investors to the sites; increase brand visibility and global positioning of locations and sites, grow name recognition of sites and attract more tourism from local and internationally
Other benefits include cultural growth and affinity to destinations, growth and boost in economic activities through increased visitor traffic, infrastructure development will be attracted due to popularity of destination, improved brand image for surrounding environs as well as global connectivity through tourism and travel.
According to the organizers, anyone can register any tourist attraction they think deserve to be on the initial shortlist.
It maintained that shortlisted sites will get a certificate qualifying them as nominees in November 2020. They will be listed on websites and promoted to Nigerians for selection. Promotions will be done online and offline to promote the attractions.
They further explained that after the first selection process in april 2021 flags will be issued to the winners. Branded billboards will be erected at the locations to show that they were shortlisted as top 50.
All 50 Shortlisted Sites will be promoted by Organisers and Owners Online and Offline.
The Top 25 Sites selected in September will have Plaques issued to them. These Special Plaques will be in Addition to Certificate, Flags and Billboards. The Top 25 Sites will Also Receive Branded Toilets and Conveniences Built for Visitors.