Concerted efforts by arts agencies, tourism and education departments, and other culture stakeholders are needed in the planning and management of cultural festivals for sustainable economic growth in Nigeria, thus the culture sector contributing its quota to the Transformation Agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.
The Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Professor Emmanuel Samu Dandaura, made this known during the 5th Quarterly National Workshop on “Repositioning of Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity,” at the Training School complex of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), National Theatre Annex, Iganmu-Lagos.
Stating this in a paper, titled, “Planning and Managing Cultural Festivals for Sustainable Economic Growth,” the renowned theatre scholar noted that Nigeria has many festivals that are yet to be money-spinners but have the potentials to animate Festival Tourism, which could be actualised through massive investments and development by the arts, public and private organisations, and other stakeholders in the culture sector.
Festival Tourism, according to Professor Dandaura, is a sub-component of Cultural Tourism that brings visitors, from abroad and within, to designated tourist locations, adding that the attraction of festivals lead to creation of ancillary and support services like hotels, transport, catering, restaurants, art and crafts shops, and that the value of properties at the tourist locations appreciates, and taxes are collected for job creations and infrastructure development of the festival community.
Dandaura posited that for any community to receive the dividends of Festival Tourism, concrete planning and management must involve the government, host community, private sector, NGOs/Press/Culture-based organisations, and service providers, coming together in an integrated approach, to create value for growing tourism investments.
The gains of organising festivals, the erudite scholar said, are compelling, which include, thriving cultural life that generates income and tax revenue, jobs, and visibility for the host State, adding that other benefits are the stimulation of road, water, hospital, telecommunication and other infrastructure, as well as viable community development.
The workshop, which was attended by participants drawn from Federal, States, Local Government Areas, and other cultural agencies, had as its theme, “Cultural Festivals as Tools for Socio-Economic Transformation.”
Tony Okafor and Olanrewaju Arepo
NICO Training School