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2023 Africa’s Travel Indaba: Revealing South Africa’s Exotic Tourism Potential

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By Taiye Olayemi

The 2023 Africa’s Travel Indaba is an obvious testament that South Africa has truly recovered from the global disaster of COVID-19 which struck in 2020.

The travel market which held from May 7 to May 17, with the theme “Unlimited Africa”, recorded attendance of over 8,000 delegates, 1,000 exhibitors who came to market over 350 products and buyers from 21 nations of the world.

This is quite massive and encouraging, giving assurance that Africans are still taking over the global tourism space.

 

Patricia De Lille, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, during the expo in excitement said that the world is rediscovering the nation considering its enticing and unparalleled natural beauty and warmth of the people.

De Lille revealed that the domestic overnight trips to South Africa from January to March has exceeded pre-pandemic levels as well as the 2022 levels by 41.0 per cent while overnight domestic spend is also up to 24.4 per cent compared to first quarter of 2022.

She said that domestic holiday trips from January to March were up to 40.5 per cent compared to 2022 to reach 2.4million.

According to her, in the course of these three months, Africa led the way with 1.6 million arrivals, followed by Europe’s 387,000 and the America’s 104,000 visitors.

She said during the period under review, Zimbabwe maintained its reign as South Africa’s top source market, a trend consistent since 2019.

She further revealed that air capacity has risen since 2022, with a 56 per cent increase in the first quarter of 2023 as South Africa reached 1.8 million seats and welcomed about 23 new routes.

“In the first quarter of 2023, foreign direct spend soared to an astounding R25.3billion, marking a 143.9 per cent increase compared to the first quarter of 2022.

“Tourists from Europe contributed the most spend of R10.8 billion, followed by Africa with a collective spend of R9.3 billion.

“Indeed, South Africa’s tourism industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience and growth, outshining other popular destinations like China, France, Italy and Brazil,” she said.

South Africa has truly positioned itself as a global tourism hub through huge investment in creating luxurious tourism destinations and well maintained to attract tourists.

Other African nations must take cues  from the rainbow nation to reposition their tourism industry and take it to an enviable height.

South Africa’s Indaba featured adventurous tours to iconic tourist sites within the Northwest and the gold city of Johannesburg.

This was an eye-opener for a lot of tourists as they toured the Magaliesberg mountains, Pilanesberg National Park and  Mphebatho Cultural Museum

The 2,400 million-year-old Magaliesberg mountains was explored in a canopy tour that consists 11 platforms, built high within the rock faces of the Kloof and joined by 10 slides up to 140 metres long and 30 metres above the stream below.

Tourists also hiked on the ancient mountain of Magaliesberg in a distance of about 250 metres. The mountain is indeed endowed with beautiful ecology, birds and animals.

At the Pilanesberg National Park, Martin Lesiba, a South African tour guide, gave a brief history of the park and described it as the home for the “Big 5” of Elephants—-Rhinoceros, Lions, Buffaloes and Leopards.

The park in its untamed African landscape, lush-green vegetation, man-made lake and other fauna and floral features can be explored in a 200 kilometre drive.

Lesiba said that the park named after a Tswana Chief, with the name “Pilane”,  also accommodates various medicinal plants and trees, among which is the buffalo thorn.

“This is the fourth largest park in South Africa, it was originally owned by four of the numerous local tribes in the northwest province.

“We have over 360 bird species and 7, 000 animals in this park,” he said.

Also within the Northwest province is the Mphebatho Cultural Museum where the history of the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela people of the province was relayed by Keamogetswe Phefo, Acting Manager for the museum.

In adventurous mood, tourists in quad-bikes moved through the Muruleng, Leeto Kgolo villages in the province, observing the eco-tourism potential within the locality.

The South African nightlife experience is another aspect of tourism well groomed. Tourists visited Max’s Lifestyle as well as Konka Soweto, known for their exciting atmosphere and eclectic music selection.

Nightlife is a lifestyle adventure, also another aspect of tourism the South Africans cherish.

In what was tagged “Leeto Experience”, no fewer than 10 hummer jeeps conveyed tourists from the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre to Umlazi area of Kwazulu-Natal Province.

The tourists immersed themselves in a vibrant nightlife featuring an eclectic mix of music with distinct African flavour.

In a city tour of Johannesburg, the tourists visited the Constitution Hill, Mandela Sanctuary Hotel, Gold Reef City, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and more.

Aside putting in place the right infrastructures capable of boosting tourism activities, South Africa is equally endowed with an attractive weather.

Other African nations must also be deliberate in their efforts to boost tourism, this is quite garmane to Africa’s  development. (NAN)

JUDICIARY

Emirship tussle: Court rule against Kano govt, others challenging jurisdiction

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano has on Thursday, ruled against Kano State government and others challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the issue of fundamental human rights instituted by a Kano traditional holder, Aminu Babba Dan’Agundi in connection with the Emirship tussle.

Recall that the applicant, who is the traditional title holder of Sarkin Dawaki Babba of Kano emirate, Aminu Babba Dan’Agundi had approached the court seeking for enforcement of his fundamental human rights claimed to have been violated by government action in the Emirship tussle.

The respondents in the suit are Kano State Government as 1st respondent, Kano State House of Assembly (2nd), Speaker of Kano State House of Assembly (3rd), Attorney General of Kano State (4th), Kano Commissioner of Police (5th), Inspector General of Police, IGP (6th), NSCDC and DSS as 7th and 8th respondents respectively.

Delivering the ruling on jurisdiction on Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Abdullahi M. Liman, ruled that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter concerning the applicant’s fundamental human rights.

Justice Liman gave the ruling relying on Section 42 sub-section 1 and Section 315 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

However, reacting to the ruling, the Counsel to the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Ibrahim Isah Wangida, said he will meet with his client to decide the next line of action whether or not they will take the option to appeal the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, the judge, Justice Liman, adjourned the matter till Friday for hearing of all pending applications saying the case is too sensitive for it to be dragged for too long.

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FEATURES

Engaging Nollywood to Showcase Nigeria’s Tourism Endowment

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By Joshua Olomu

All over the world film is more than an entertainment outlet. It is used as a tool for shaping opinions, driving national narratives to the larger world and projecting a nation’s cultures, economic, technological and other advantages.

Besides its entertainment value, one area where the motion picture is intentionally applied is as a tool for global marketing and advertisement of the tourism sector.

Films are unique platforms for promoting tourism, offering a blend of entertainment and destination marketing that can captivate audiences and inspire travel.

Some of the most admired and visited tourist attractions and destinations, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Great Wall of China attracted global attention through the power of the visual media.

The wonder of the screen can make tourists travel from around the world to visit the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Films are powerful tools for promoting tourism by bringing destinations to life, showcasing their unique attributes, and inspiring audiences to visit the real-world locations they have seen on screen.

Nigeria’s film industry, known as Nollywood, is globally recognised as the second largest film producer in the world, turning out over 2,500 movies yearly.

It is only surpassed by Bollywood of India, even though Nollywood does not rake in as much income annually as the others, it is renowned for its rich and unique storytelling attributes.

Before COVID-19 pandemic erupted Hollywood contributed $504 billion to the U.S. GDP. The figure represents at least 3.2 per cent of the goods and services portion of GDP.

Conversely, according to a research firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria’s film industry contributed only $660 million to Nigeria’s GDP in 2021.

One of those who think Nollywood can do better in terms of revenue generation for the country is the Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof AbdulRasheed Na’Allah.

“Nollywood can turn around the fortunes of the Nigerian economy. The government must understand that now.

“It is in the interest of the government to know that film industries are multi-million-dollar ventures. They can create wealth.

“From all over the world, people are watching Nollywood. People are beginning to know Nigeria through Nollywood.

“Is it our music, film, cultural dance, or language? We are taking the world by surprise, and because it is going to Japan, China and America, it is creating foreign reserves for Nigeria”, he said.

He spoke at a three-day conference in Abuja, yesterday, in honour of visiting lecturer, Prof Onookome Okome of the Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada, the VC tasked the Federal Government to support Nollywood.

Just like the Nigerian music brand, Afrobeat, Nollywood products have evolved to become global brands that are known and accepted across the world.

In recent times, the industry has produced blockbusters that have been screened in international cinemas, nominated and screened at prestigious festivals such as the Toronto Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, among others.

Therefore, it can be argued that Nollywood, as one of Nigeria’s best exports to the world, has not been adequately engaged in showcasing the nation’s rich tourism potential to attract inbound tourists.

Nigeria is known for its rich historical and cultural heritage, breath-taking landscapes and diverse wildlife, which position it as a potential choice destination for tourists seeking unique experiences and adventures.

The country is home to nature tourism, with a lot of natural attractions, including lush rainforest, Savannas, wetlands and unique flora and fauna, spread across its six geopolitical zones.

This diverse ecosystem  offers interesting  activities  to tourists, such as  bird-watching,photography,star-gazing,camping,hunting,fishing,hiking and games viewing.

However, with these amazing tourism attractions spread across the country, beside various cultural fiesta and celebrations, Nigeria is yet to be classified as a global tourism destination.

In the 2019 UNTWO World Tourism Ranking, Nigeria was not among the first 10 countries in Africa, with Egypt, Morocco and South Africa standing at first, second and third positions in that order.

Primarily, this ranking is based on the number of visitors and the income generated from the sector within the period.

Perhaps, inadequate packaging, promotion and effective marketing of the nation’s tourism attractions to the global market is the major drawback to the sector, and this  is where Nollywood should be engaged by relevant authorities.

There is a need for synergy between industry players, and this is where the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) need to show political will, patriotism and commitment.

NFC has the mandate to establish a robust framework for fostering a thriving and enduring film industry and cinema culture in Nigeria, and thereby actively contributing to the socio-economic advancement of the nation.

One of the NFC’s cardinal functions is to produce films for domestic consumption and export, and this is what puts it in the best position to engage stakeholders in Nollywood.

NTDA is responsible for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of tourism in Nigeria, and it has the duty to encourage people living in Nigeria to take their holidays therein and people from abroad to visit Nigeria.

These agencies need to join hands to initiate a pilot project and engage relevant guilds in Nollywood including   the Screen Writers Association of Nigeria, Association of Movie Producers and the Actors Guild of Nigeria.

At the ideation stage of the project, a script should be written with a storyline that set historical and cultural   landmarks, parks and wildlife as locations for such a film.

Other tourist locations such as Yankari Game Reserves,  Ikogosi warm spring, Erin Ijesha water fall, Ojukwu Bunker, among others should as well  be captured.

The various cultural festivals such as Argungu Fishing Festival, Osun Osogbo Festival, the Calabar Carnival and others should be reflected in such projects.

The Federal Government, through its relevant ministries, should as well come up with an incentive mechanism for filmmakers whose projects tend to promote the nation’s tourism landscape.

These collaborations between filmmakers and tourism authorities will consequently   lead to joint marketing efforts where film trailers can be paired with tourism advertisements, and locations can offer incentives for film crews to shoot there.

There is no doubt, if well engaged, Nollywood films will introduce audiences to locations they might not have known about, effectively serving as advertisements for these places.

Such films will also highlight the cultural aspects of a location, from food and festivals to traditions and architecture, and this cultural exposure can evoke viewers’ interest in experiencing these elements first hand.

As Nollywood   films take a more dominant place on the global stage, using them to highlight the rich tourism attractions that abound in the country will create emotional connections with viewers.

This will attract both domestic and inbound tourists to locations which will ultimately bring  sustainable tourism  development and make the sector a major source of national revenue.

To be a vehicle for selling Nigeria’s tourism potential to the international community, Nollywood should take the positives from the country.

Then Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, addressed this concern at Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders training under the platform of Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN).

“Beyond the questions of economics and profit, there is the issue of the critical role of Nollywood in influencing culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity.

 “You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country’’, said Gbajabiamila, now Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu.

The Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, acknowledges the enormity of the task but remains upbeat about what the industry can do.

“We are uniquely positioned in this great nation, endowed with an abundance of human capital and boundless possibilities.

“Our collective aim is singular, and it is bold: to position Nigeria as the world’s culture, creativity and entertainment capital“, she said.

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NEWS

Kano Emirship Tussle: Ribadu, Yusuf Meet in Abuja

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Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf on Thursday met with National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu in Abuja where they discussed issues concerning the Kano Emirship  tussle.

This was contained in a statement issued by Yusuf’s Director-General, Media and Publicity, Malam Sunusi Tofa, in Kano.

Tofa said the meeting was prompted by recent events in Kano following the dissolution of five emirates and the restoration of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II.

Tofa said that the two leaders deliberated on various matters relating to state and national development as well as peaceful coexistence in the state.

Emir Ado Bayero is in court challenging the reinstatement of Emir Muhammad Sanusi  II by the Kano State government.

While Sanusi is operating from the Emir’s Palace, Bayero is holding forth at the Emir’s Guest House.

Tofa quoted Yusuf as describing the meeting as fruitful and emphasised the critical role of NSA in ensuring peace in the country.

“I briefed him on the recent developments in Kano, and we discussed ways to promote national security and development,” he Tofa quoted Yusuf as saying.

The meeting comes after the NSA was accused of meddling in the Kano crisis, which he swiftly denied.

The Kano State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Aminu Gwarzo, had apologised to the NSA for the allegation, attributing it to flawed intelligence.

The meeting coincided with Sanusi’s sixth day at the Kano palace, where a significant majority of district heads and kingmakers have pledged their allegiance to him.

The state government has assured that Kano remains peaceful and tranquil, urging residents to continue their regular activities in compliance with the laws of the land.

Sanusi Makes First Appointment amid Emirship Tussle

In as much as the controversy trailing Kano Emirate tussle continues, the 16th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II had on Thursday made his first appointment.

This was coming barely a week after he was reinstalled as the Emir.

Sanusi, the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, approved the appointment of a new Ward Head of Kofar Mazugal, Hamisu Sani in Dala Local Government area of the state.

The Emir called on the new ward Head to ensure peaceful coexistence among the subjects of the area and contribute his quota towards the development of the state as a whole.Earlier, district heads and personalities such as delegations from religious and market bodies paid homage to Emir Sanusi at the palace.

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