Nigeria’s seven wonderful destinations were yesterday unveiled at the Headquartres of the Nigerian Tourism Development Agency in Abuja.
Leader of the seven wonders team, Ikechi Uko, told the NTDC director-general and the corporation’s management that the idea of Nigeria’s seven best destinations was a product of his extensive travels which gave him another eye to appreciate the tourism potentials of Nigeria.
“From our experience abroad, we found out that other countries celebrate what they have, but there are better places in Nigeria that have not been celebrated in the same manner.”
The Seven Wonders of Nigeria Project, he maintained, was designed to “draw global attention to what God and our ancestors have endowed us with.”
Nigeria, he argued, was not as bad as what Nigerians think, as “The best tourist destinations in the world have worse security and other challenges than Nigeria.
Virtually every state in the country possesses various kinds of priceless jewels-some of which are not even known or rightfully acknowledged by the owners themselves and as such, many are still lying waste in the nooks and crannies of the country, simply waiting to be discovered and dusted up before they can shine.”
The Seven Wonderful Sites:
1. Obudu Mountain Resort-described as a paradise in Nigeria with unpolluted fresh air, chilling weather that can be compared to winter season in Europe. It is the most developed with one of the longest cable cars in the world.
2. Sukur Heritage Site in Adamawa State: The first world heritage site in Nigeria.
3. Osun Groove: The second World Heritage site in Nigeria and popularised by the annual Osun Shogbo Festival in Osun State , and the late Austrian, Susan Wenger, who was a priestess at the shrine.
4. Kano Walls: With 17.5km in circumference with 16 gates, protecting what is still an important centre of trade. Within the walls, the Gidan Makam Museum is a national monument of architectural excellence.
5. Oke Idanre Hills, Ondo State: Said to be 800 years old and can be accessed reached by 442 steps with spectacular views overlooking the new Idanre town.
6. Benin Moat, Edo State: One of the largest man made excavations in the world.
7. National War Museum, Umuahia, Abia State: Housing the famous Ojukwu Bunker, from where the Biafra war command operated during the Nigerian Civil War.
Commenting on the efforts of the 7 Wonders Team, NTDC DG, Otunba Segun Runsewe, commended the various subcommittees that invested their time and other resources in the project and described them as assets to Nigeria and the tourism sector in particular.
The committee he maintained, has made Nigeria proud by giving the country seven wonderful sites that his agency will celebrate home and abroad, and disclosed plans to visit state governors, in whose domain the sites are located, promising to avail the state all the assistance they need to develop the sites to the delight of domestic and foreign tourists.
“The committee has added a great deal of value to the destination marketing efforts of the NTDC, Runsewe said”.
Beyond the Effort: State governments have continued to shy away from playing any serious role in developing tourist sites. With the new Nigerian Seven Wonders, it is hoped that the states which now have these wonderful sites, will develop them and exploit the socio-economic gains that will accrue from the venture.
At the last tourism trade fair in Madrid, Spain, Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Obed Wadzani, called on all stakeholders to join hands in developing the nation’s tourism sector.
He said the Spanish government places a high premium on the sector which explains why the various regions participate in the annual tourism expo, same for the private sector. To illustrate, if the 774 local goverments in Nigeria can develop a site, or a park each, the country will have 774 sites that can attract the much needed foreign exchange from foregn tourists, same can be replicated by the 36 states and the FCT.