I watched ‘The Black Book’ and ‘Ijogbon’ but before then, Emem Isong along with Ebony Life had pulled off projects for the Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers State government respectively that were meant to aid the States as it relates to Tourism and Cultural development. Now, watching these 2 movies recently, seeing how Editi made use of Kaduna State and then Kunle making use of Oyo State, I feel like the Federal and State Ministries of Tourism and Culture or is it the other way around, are sitting on a goldmine as it relates to the use of film in promoting tourism, bearing in mind, these movies are watched globally. But I digress.
Nigeria boasts a rich tapestry of history, tradition, and breathtaking landscapes. From the ancient city of Benin to the bustling markets of Lagos and the picturesque beaches of Calabar, the country is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. In recent years, Nollywood, has emerged as a potent tool for promoting tourism, showcasing the country’s beauty, heritage, and vibrant culture to the world. In this write-up I explore the symbiotic relationship between Nigerian cinema and tourism and emphasize on 5 ways film can serve as a powerful catalyst for attracting travelers and promote tourism to our nation.
1. The Visual Spectacle:
Film, with its visual storytelling prowess, has the unique ability to transport audiences to far-off lands and immerse them in captivating narratives. Nigerian filmmakers have tapped into this potential, using their creativity to showcase the country’s diverse landscapes, architectural marvels, and natural wonders. From the majestic Zuma Rock or Olomo Rock to the serene Erin Ijesha Waterfall, these cinematic depictions serve as a visual invitation for tourists, enticing them to experience the grandeur of Nigeria firsthand.
2. Cultural Immersion:
Nollywood films often delve deep into Nigeria’s cultural heritage, showcasing traditional ceremonies, festivals, and rituals. Through the power of film, viewers gain insight into the colorful traditions of various ethnic groups, fostering a sense of curiosity and appreciation for Nigeria’s cultural diversity. This cinematic cultural immersion not only educates but also inspires travelers to engage with local communities, witness cultural festivities, and partake in authentic experiences, thus promoting cultural tourism.
3. Historical Epics and Heritage Tourism:
Historical epics are a prominent genre in Nigerian cinema, recounting the country’s rich historical narratives and ancient kingdoms. By bringing historical events to life, filmmakers create a bridge between the past and the present, encouraging heritage tourism. Tourists are drawn to iconic sites such as the Ogbunike Caves, the ancient city walls of Kano, and the historic slave routes of Badagry, inspired by the stories they’ve seen on screen, making them eager to explore these sites in person.
4. Showcasing Culinary Delights:
Nigeria’s diverse culinary landscape is a delight for food enthusiasts. Through film, the aromatic and flavorful world of Nigerian cuisine is showcased, piquing the interest of gastronomes around the globe. Nigerian movies often feature scenes of traditional meals, street food vendors, and regional delicacies, tantalizing the taste buds of viewers. Food tourism gains momentum as travelers embark on culinary adventures, sampling local dishes, and experiencing the authentic flavors of Nigeria.
5. Fostering Sustainable Tourism:
Beyond promoting tourist attractions, Nigerian cinema has the potential to highlight the importance of sustainable tourism practices. Filmmakers can incorporate themes of environmental conservation, community-based tourism, and responsible travel in their narratives, educating both local communities and tourists about the significance of preserving natural habitats and cultural heritage. Through impactful storytelling, films can inspire travelers to engage in eco-friendly practices, ensuring the longevity of Nigeria’s tourist destinations for generations to come.
Over the years, my exposure to local and international movies continues to show several meaningful ways we can exploit film to advantage especially in Nigeria. The marriage of Nigerian cinema and tourism not only enriches the film industry but also opens new avenues for economic growth and cultural exchange. By leveraging the power of storytelling and the visual medium, Nigeria can continue to captivate the world, inviting travelers to explore its myriad wonders. Our call at XploreNollywood is that filmmakers and tourism authorities collaborate, as the potential for showcasing Nigeria’s beauty and heritage on the global stage is limitless, transforming the nation into a must-visit destination for adventurous souls seeking enriching experiences and unparalleled cultural immersion.