WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, the official tourism organization for Nigeria, has joined the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) as an Associate Member. This membership makes Nigeria the first and only West African country to be accepted into USTOA.
Nigeria Tourism’s acceptance into USTOA comes as no surprise, as its goals match up aptly with the USTOA’s. As stated in the USTOA 2013 annual directory, Associate Membership invitations are “extended to responsible industry and governmental entities and organizations whose interests and purposes are compatible with those of USTOA, which is to encourage and support professional and financial integrity in tourism and in the future of the travel industry.” This membership is the first step in Nigeria Tourism’s overall marketing strategy, which aims to work with U.S. tour operators to educate them about the destination and to assist them in developing itineraries and tours to Nigeria.
With spectacular nature, unique wildlife, world-class golf courses, and a multitude of leisure activities and accommodations options, Nigeria is primed to welcome tourists from the U.S. and around the world. The most populous West African coastal nation, Nigeria also offers a vast cultural heritage from one of the primary sources of the African Diaspora. Visitors to the country can immerse themselves in the destination’s culture and history, and African Americans may be able to trace their heritage to Nigeria. The theme “Nigeria: Our History is Your History” is a part of the integrated marketing campaign that Nigeria Tourism has launched this year and which it will continue into 2013 throughout the U.S.
“We are excited to join USTOA and for the opportunity to be acquainted with so many reputable tour operators throughout the U.S.,” said Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation. “We look forward to welcoming tour operators, travel agents and U.S. tourists to Nigeria, where we can share with them our unique culture and legacy, along with our natural attractions and enticing activities.” Beyond Nigeria’s vibrant natural environment of mountain ranges, rainforests, rich savannah plains, and hundreds of lakes, rivers and waterfalls, there are also many rapidly growing cities to be explored, where old blends with new.
Nigeria is also convenient to reach from the U.S., with major airlines including Delta, United, and Nigeria’s own Arik Air flying directly from the U.S. to Nigeria several times a week, with more non-stop flights to Nigeria than anywhere else in West Africa and the shortest flight-time from hubs in New York (JFK), Houston (IAH) and Atlanta (ATL). In addition, United Airlines will offer direct service on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner from its Houston hub to Lagos, Nigeria, beginning January 7, 2013.