By Osa Mbonu-Amadi
For the 2022 World Tourism Day tomorrow, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, has completed plans to hold a free boat cruise to draw attention to and promote what it called aquatic tourism in Lagos State.
Take off point for the boat cruise, scheduled for September 27, 2022, will be the Tarzan Jetty in Victoria Island by 10 a.m. prompt, while the destination will be Tarkwa Bay Beach, Lagos.
Speaking at the press briefing for the event, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, National President of FTAN, said FTAN is celebrating the World Tourism Day to highlight water economy and show that there is money in water tourism business, hence the federation is partnering with Tarzan to facilitate the boat cruise.
Mr. Onung said: “It is time to show the world the business of tourism. We want to access the water economy in Lagos State. We want people to see that lots of revenue can be generated on the waterways through tourism. One of the activities for the day will be the biggest watercraft flotilla, draped in Nigerian colors. This will showcase boat cruises on Lagos waterways and the adventure in water.”
The FTAN president also disclosed that there will be a dinner and award night where three individuals who have contributed to the growth of the tourism industry in the last one year will be appreciated. “Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State will be appreciated for maintaining security in the state, and for his numerous investments in the tourism industry. This is to encourage the state to do more,” Mr. Onung said.
Other personalities to be honored are Chief Margaret Bolanle Idowu Fabiyi of WEBISCO and Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, Director-General of Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).
“We are looking at how government can look into that aspect of the economy, invest more in it, make the waterways safe and neat for all. A lot of revenue can be generated from there,” Mr. Onung added.
Alhaji Gani Balogun, Managing Director, Association of Tourists Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), who is also Chairman, Local Organizing Committee of the WTD, hinted that if the boat rides were to be paid for, each individual would have had to pay N1,800 for the ride.
According to Balogun, Takwa Bay Beach was chosen for its calmness, good vegetation and neatness of the water.
While imploring Nigerians to come for the boat cruise so as to be educated on how revenue could be generated on the waterways, because experts will be giving brief talks on the business aspects of water tourism, he appreciated the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police for their efforts in collaborating with FTAN to host the biggest boat cruise in Nigeria:
“We can also have boat cruises like those experienced in Florida and some other developed nations because we have all it takes. This is what we want to show to the world on September 27, during the World Tourism Day.”
The global theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is “Rethinking Tourism”. But each country, said Mr. Frank Meke, travel and tourism columnist on The Sun Newspaper, is allowed to domesticate the theme to suit their purpose, hence FTAN chose aquatic tourism as its own focus.