Nigeria a country pulsating with diverse cultures and vibrant rhythms, has recognized the potential of music as a powerful force to drive tourism.
Beyond being an artistic expression, music has become a strategic tool to showcase the nation’s rich cultural tapestry, attract visitors and boost the economy. In recent years, the global acceptance of Afrobeats has reached unprecedented heights.
Producers such as Kiddominant, Speroach Beatz, and others have been instrumental in crafting chart-topping hits. The fusion of African rhythms with international styles has become a hallmark of Nigerian music production, contributing to the genre’s widespread popularity. Afrobeats has gained international recognition, with Canadian rapper Drake and American artist Beyoncé incorporating Afrobeat sounds into their music, with the latter winning a Grammy Award for Brown Skin Girl featuring Saint, Jhn, Wizkid & Blue Ivy Carter.
Nigeria’s cultural diversity is reflected in its great number of music genres, from Afrobeat and Highlife to Juju and traditional folk music. Recognizing the allure of these musical expressions, the country has embarked on promoting cultural music tourism. Festivals celebrating specific genres, such as the Felabration for Afrobeat or the Lagos International Jazz Festival, draw music enthusiasts from around the world. These events not only showcase the country’s musical prowess but also serve as cultural exchanges, fostering a deeper understanding of Nigeria’s heritage.
From Fela Kuti’s Shrine in Lagos to the birthplaces of Highlife legends, these trails provide an immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore the roots and evolution of Nigerian music. Local guides narrate captivating stories, creating a connection between the music and the cultural landscape.
It could be recalled that in 2022, Lagos State government through its Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture under the leadership of the then Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf led a team of tourism stakeholders on a three day tour of the state. One of the notable places visited was the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja. The team was received by the manager of the facility, who introduced the team to the various aspects of the facilities, its services as well as its historicity and that of the progenitor of the shrine, legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the late Afrobeat king.
Nigeria’s vibrant music scene, marked by the global success of artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido, has become a magnet for concert tourism. International and local music events, held in iconic venues like Eko Convention Centre and Terra Kulture, during Detty December attract not only music lovers but also curious travelers seeking a dynamic and unforgettable experience. The blend of pulsating beats, energetic performances, and the unique atmosphere of Nigerian concerts contributes to the country’s allure as a prime destination for music enthusiasts.
Nigeria actively engages in cultural exchanges through music collaborations with other nations. These collaborations not only broaden the international appeal of Nigerian music but also attract tourists interested in experiencing the fusion of diverse musical influences. Partnerships with global artists and participation in international music festivals contribute to positioning Nigeria as a cultural hub on the global stage.
Ikechi Uko, a renowned travel expert and organizer of Akwaaba West Africa’s largest trade exhibition event talked about the potential of leveraging the global success of Nigerian artists in the music industry to enhance tourism during his presentation at the Nigerian South African Chamber Of Commerce Event held in 2023.
He noted that Nigerian music has become widely popular across African countries as it is the most streamed music in most African countries except in some South African countries, and the government should seize the opportunity to promote the country as a tourist destination. Rema he said played at the Ballon D’or Awards, Burna Boy played at UEFA Cup Finals, Davido played at World Cup finals, Tems played at NBA all Stars and Tiwa Savage played at the Coronation of Kings Charles. These are powerful endorsements that can be parlayed into wonderful Tourism Products.
Innovatively, Nigeria has combined music with eco-tourism, organizing music festivals in picturesque natural settings. Festivals like the Jos Chillin’ Mega Fiesta held in the serene landscapes of Jos Plateau State not only showcase the diversity of Nigerian music but also promote sustainable tourism practices. Through cultural festivals, music heritage trails, and strategic partnerships, Nigeria is not only showcasing its musical richness but also creating an unforgettable experience for tourists.
By Chigozie Chukwuemeka