FROM ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA, LONDON
THURSDAY, November 12 was Nigeria’s day at the World Travel Market (WTM), and it was an opportunity for the country’s delegation to the four-day fair to dazzle visitor to its stand to the best of Nigeria cultural heritage.
Nigeria’s presentation on this day was perhaps a befitting endnote to a performance that was adjudged the best from the country since it began to participate in the global meet.
With the positive impression that the country has made in the last two years on the occasion of the celebration of her day, the interest generated and the massive attendance at this year’s gathering was in a way not totally unexpected.
The management of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and its Director General, Segun Runsewe, who was head of delegation, rose to the occasion by providing guests a wide variety of Nigeria cuisine. Amidst pomp and conviviality, the people were treated to suffusing cultural performance from a Nigerian troupe based in the UK.
It was a thing of joy and excitement to watch many of the people, mostly whites, not just nodding their heads and tapping their feet to the sound of music, but taking to the dance floor, and flowing along with the muse in heavy gyrations and dance steps and rhythm that they ever imagined possible.
Wale Ojo and his Afro Queen Beat, a 14-man piece band was the star act of the day, reeling out different tunes and percussion from the repertoire of the late Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, while the top actor, comic act, Tunji Sotimirin, the ‘Konkere master’ set the stage on fire with his rib-cracking performances.
Runsewe, in his welcome address, extended open invitation to participants to come and savour the country’s tourism industry.
He told his guests that what they were treated to at the world travel expo was just a tip of the iceberg and to get a full benefit and dosage of Nigeria tourism industry, they would need to visit the country on a packaged holiday.
Runsewe further pledged the assistance and support of his agency in ensuring that regular tours to the country from the UK and elsewhere in the world are packaged and put on sale at the various marketing outlets the tourism agency has initiated across the world and through recognised and accredited travel brokers and tour operators.
This year’s show was a top act, as it was the 30th anniversary of the global tourism that first opened its doors or business in 1979.
Ever since, it as grown to be one of the most attended travel forum by global operators and national administrators. Reed Exhibitions are the organisers of the yearly meet.