By Idris Olukoya
Lagos – Mr Ayo Olumoko, the Deputy President of Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), Southwest Zone, on Monday called on the Federal Government to be proactive in the release of 2017 Festivals Calendar.
Olumoko, also a Festival Manager and a Consultant, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that such step would enable festival practitioners and investors to plan ahead.
NAN reports that Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said on Dec. 29 that the 2017 festival calendar would be released.
He urged the ministry to work collectively with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) for the collation of the festivals across the country.
Olumoko said that “although, It is the responsibility of the NTDC to collate and prepare calendar of festivals, the ministry can also take part in the action plans.”
The expert said that the calendar would guide the practitioners and festival managers on how to package and market Nigeria festival period to the international tourists.
“The calendar will assist to attract more tourists and enable them to plan their trips around the festivals.
“This is one of the avenues to attract global visitors to festivals in the country and make it a viable entity,’’he said.
According to him, the best way the government can achieve this is to work closely with the private sectors to make the festivals attractive to both local and foreign tourists.
He added that another way government could leapfrog the major events to the top cadre of global festivals was to train festivals manager/administrators.
“The training will enable them to package the festivals well to international standard and also to bring out the best and the full potentials in them.
“The festivals will not just be like a street carnival but a source of economic empowerment for the people.
“It will also boost our foreign exchange earnings, create jobs and also have positive impacts on the host community,’’ he said.
He mentioned some of the festivals that needed urgent government attention for promotions as Osun-Osogbo festival, Calabar Carnival, Arungugu, Eyo and Abuja carnival.
He expressed optimism that if all the necessary measures were considered and put in place, Nigeria festivals would be listed among the top five festivals in the world.
Olumoko said festivals fostered love and unity among the people living in the host communities and also bring about national integrations.