The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, the official tourism organization for Nigeria, has ramped up its efforts for attracting travelers from the U.S. market. Though the complete marketing campaign will not launch until early 2013 in select cities throughout the U.S., several events and attractions are already taking place throughout Nigeria this month and into 2013.
This week, from October 30 through November 2, tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams will visit Lagos, taking part in tennis clinics, a lecture, gala dinner and exhibition match while in Nigeria. Also taking place in late 2012 is the annual Calabar Festival, one of Africa’s biggest festivals. Calabar begins on December 1 and lasts throughout the month, showcasing Nigerian culture, history and entertainment in Cross River State, Nigeria. The 2012 Calabar Festival will also include top American music stars. For more information on this event, see www.carnivalcalabar.com. Art can also be seen throughout the year at the Nike Centres for Art & Culture, which are located in select cities throughout Nigeria and offer tours and shopping, including a variety of arts, from traditional arts such as indigo dying and sculpting to painting, quilting and even drums, carving and stonework. More information on the centers and art can be found at www.nikeart.com.
Trade efforts have also been amped up in Nigeria, with local tour operators being trained to welcome tourists from the U.S. and around the world. The destination itself is primed for American visitors, as the stunning African country offers a multitude of accommodations options, world-class golf courses, and leisure activities. In addition to Nigeria’s tourism offerings, it is believed that the history of most African Americans can be traced to Nigeria. With this in mind, Nigeria Tourism is promoting the theme, ‘Nigeria: Our History is Your History,’” and hopes to attract African Americans to Nigeria to explore their heritage in this historically and culturally rich country.
As the most populous West African coastal nation, Nigeria is also one of the most convenient to reach from the States. Major airlines including Delta, United, and Nigeria’s own Arik Air fly direct from the U.S. to Nigeria several times a week, with more non-stop flights to Nigeria than anywhere else in West Africa and the shortest flight-time from hubs in New York (JFK), Houston (IAH) and Atlanta (ATL). In addition, United Airlines will offer direct service on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner from its Houston hub to Lagos, Nigeria, beginning January 7, 2013.