•Runsewe thumbs-up six states

•Plans nationwide tour

The year 2018 passed into history book as a year the six states of Lagos, Rivers, Cross-River, Kaduna, Plateau and Edo engaged in and promoted robust culture and tourism activities on a scale that helped to create a window for organized local and international visits across Nigeria.

This is the verdict according to the year review by the Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, as he prepares to embark on a tour of the 36 states of the federation,

Runsewe, under whose stewardship the NCAC organized the highly applauded National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) and International Arts and Crafts Exposition (INAC) in 2018, noted that the positive developments in cultural events and activities from states would help to sustain an all-year holiday culture in Nigeria, and cultural festivals as tourism products, will help local and international tour operators in marketing Nigeria to the world.

He expressed a belief that what took place around the country last year is a revolution which would place Nigeria in its rightful place in the global tourism community.

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Runsewe, who is also President, World Crafts Council, Africa Region, noted that the 50 billion naira spending by holidaymakers in Lagos is a huge eye-opener to what can trickle down to operators of businesses and the service industry, adding that what is needed a proper organization of the sector to facilitate the creation of jobs for Nigerians.

Commending Lagos State government’s effort in deepening tourism, the NCAC boss prayed the state would continue to provide leadership in strategic tourism activities more than ever before. He also gave kudos to the governor of Cross River State for making Carnival Calabar to take a new shape in 2018 through an authentic African theme and cultural content that have opened the continent to visits and collaboration. Indeed, the 26 foreign nations that visited and participated in the 2018 Calabar Carnival, as Runsewe noted, is a tour de force that has taken the cultural carnival to a higher pedestal.

Runsewe especially applauded the cultural intervention in NAFEST Rivers 2018 where Governor Nyeson Wike propelled the culture fest to an epic height with a new dynamism that showcased Nigeria’s cultures in a new light.

In the same vein, efforts to repositioned tourism in Kaduna and Plateau State by governors Nasir el Rufai and Simon Lalong respectively were also lauded.

Not left out in Runsewe’s ranking is Edo State which came to town last year with its EdoFest that gave strategic attention to the repatriation of Benin artefacts in foreign museums.

“That has marked out EdoFest as a holiday event to watch in Nigeria,” said Runsewe.