The quest to market Nigeria as a destination for businesses and investments received a boost at the weekend as the director general of the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) Otunba Segun Runsewe stole the show redirecting a positive focus on Nigeria. LEADERSHIP Sunday reports.
It is popularly called Accra Weizo, the seamless travel and tourism event that was held at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana, yesterday.
Tourism stakeholders from the continent gathered once again to celebrate and market the tourism potential of their various countries.
Expectedly, Otunba Runsewe was on ground with his towering personality and cult followership, persuaded the gathering with words that were deeply convincing to the business communities in Ghana and other African countries. He reiterated the need for investors to make good use of the conducive business environment in Nigeria to promote and expand their businesses.
He assured the gathering that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has opened many frontiers of the economy that has made the country a destination of choice.
The DG also inaugurated a Nigeria/Ghana friendship Club to help foster closer relationship between the two countries and its people. But not without a visit to the Nigerian Embassy and reminded them on the need to continue to sell the country to the region. Plenty promotional materials were also distributed to the people as the crown hustled to get different items created by the Culture boss.
On the need for a cultural rebranding of the continent, he said “this is not the time for seminars and story- telling but a time of collective action through sincerity of purpose to repackage our content through right narrative and promotion to make a sustainable change to our tourism and culture industry.
Cheered with endless applause, the organisers of the event honoured him with the Balafon Tourism Man of the Year.
According to the organisers , Runsewe’s creative romance with culture and tourism has inspired the people and motivated several investors to visit the country. It was therefore no showmanship that he is the face of culture and tourism not only in Nigeria but across Africa.
The deserved diadem from ATQ/Accra weizo , according to a Tourism stakeholder, Mr. Frank Meke, confirmed long held and accepted position that this untiring, patriotic Nigerian and pan African Culture influencer is the Nigerian cum continent best promoter of culture and tourism business.
Responding to the award, Runsewe dedicated the award to the country. Hear him:” I believe in Nigeria and our people. We have what the world would want to see and it’s my business to do so.
“It’s a burden but not heavy because Nigeria needs to be known for the best we can offer mankind. I will also stand for black Africa because we are the bastion of civilisation and culture. I dedicate this award to Nigerian people and its culture”
The award categories included Travel Personality of the Year in West Africa, Tourism Man of the Year in West Africa, Aviation Man of the Year in West Africa, Hotel Personality of the Year in West Africa, Aviation Minister of the Year West Africa, Tourism minister of the year in West Africa, Best Airline in West Africa, Best Hotel in West Africa and Best Airport in West Africa (for government agencies).
Others are Best Ground Handling Company in West Africa, Best Tourism Marketing Award West Africa, Top three tourism Events of the Year West Africa and Top ten Conference Centres in West Africa.
Last year, at the World Travel Market in London, Ghana Tourism Authority signed a 5-year MoU with the Organisers of Accra Weizo to Jointly Organise the expo with the owners of Akwaaba Travel Market. Accra Weizo has been held in Ghana for four years now.
Earlier, an agreement signed by Ikechi Uko and the Ghanian representatives stated that the combo of AKWAABA and Weizo will offer Ghana an opportunity to help build up an already thriving platform into a bigger event. We recognise the efforts and contributions of the organizers but we want the event bigger than it is and we believe it will bring more travel Professionals to Ghana,” Mr Agyeman said.
On his part Mr. Ikechi Uko thanked GTA for the partnership, adding, “It takes a man with a vision to see the power behind such platforms and move to take ownership of the project for the growth of Tourism in Ghana. I applaud the CEO and his team for this collaboration. We expect that with the Goodwill of the Government of Ghana Weizo will grow bigger.”
The agreement spells out roles by both sides and timelines to be managed by a Joint committee. Ghana has declared 2019 the year of return in commemoration of 400 years of slavery and has since hosted many events to mark the year.
However, Runsewe had always stated that there is no country that doesn’t have security challenges or their own slums, but the only strategy of selling any country in the world is through the SWOT analysis where we concentrate on our strength, weakness, opportunity and threats, and this on a larger ground will enable us to focus on building some of these concept of tourist facilities in three or four states.
Some of the stakeholders and participants at the event who are core drivers extolled the rare vision of the NCAC boss that has revolutionised tourism and culture in Nigeria.