Testing out the concept
Travel/Tourism How Ekiti State Repositioned with NAFEST 2021
The year 2021 edition of National Festival of Arts & Culture (NAFEST 2021) may have come and gone, yet the memory of the one-week event will forever linger in the annals of National Cultural Festivals and amongst competitors and participants from the 36 states of the federation.
When Ekiti state signified intention to host this event two years ago after the Jos, Plateau state hosting, not quite a few people in the arts and culture community thought the hosting right request by Ekiti state was a tall order and a pipe dream.
First, many people had considered the ambition of the 25 year old agrarian state a mere ego trip in view of the state’s ranking on the Federal Government’s monthly revenue allocation and resources distribution index.
To cynics, Ekiti state lacked the basic and requisite facilities and resources that are pivotal to hosting such a major national event. But the just concluded festival which started 13th November and ended 20th of November this year put paid to all doubts and negative permutations.
To crown the elaborate plan earlier put in place for a hitch-free, brilliant and successful 34th edition of NAFEST, Ekiti State emerged over-all best winner in most of the competitive and non-competitive games, thereby making it a new dawn of glory and admiration for the administration of Governor John Kayode Fayemi who has not hidden his vision of turning Ekiti state to a destination of first choice to tourists and investors.
Indeed, the state has in large measure and greater abundance exciting tourist centers with numerous natural resources. Ekiti state is potentially rich in mineral deposits. Some of these tourists centers with significance and national importance are the famous Ikogosi Warm Spring, the Orole and Olosunta Hills, Arinta Water Fall, Fajuyi Parks. Others are: Esa Cave, Ogun Onire Groove, Agbonna Hill, Oke Abanijorin, Sacred Fishes River, Oroke Ewo War Centre
As marketing authorities would concede, “destination branding is about identifying the destination’s strongest and most competitively appealing assets in the eyes of its prospective visitors, building a story from these that make the destination stand out above its competitors, and running this narrative consistently through all marketing communications.
Specifically, Tom Buncle, Former Chief Executive of Visit Scotland and Current Managing Director of an International Tourism Consultancy explained that “a destination brand cannot be created. It is up to tourist boards and destination marketing organisations to identify their destination best assets in order to invoke certain feelings, values cultures and the overall mindset that people experience when visiting a place”
Similarly, Buncle pointed out that it also means people in the destination play a part in contributing to the tourism brand values, experience, reputation, and mindset. All of these were in sufficient measure and supply at the Ekiti Nafest 2021 even to the utter dismay of delegates from oil rich states in Nigeria.
Aside the famous tourists centers and places of attractions, and other facilities that were on ground, to make the festival run with effortless ease, Visitors and delegates to state were attracted and highly impressed by the newly commissioned Ekiti State Civic Center. The Civic Center, one of the many legacy projects of the current JKF administration is an architectural masterpiece and a multi-purpose edifice of unimaginable splendor and candour.
For Ekiti people, who received contingents from 36 states of the federation and some international observers, it was the biggest crowd they have witnessed in recent history. Beyond the opportunity it provided for networking, the festival gave the locals opportunity to display their wares and make good money within the period. From the players in the hospitality business, farmers, artisans and other actors in the state’s SME, it was a boom period for businesses.
Perhaps the story can better be told by visitors from across the country who were marveled by the level of preparation put in place by the state government. Aside from the basic facilities that were on ground to make the festival run with ease, the visitors were impressed by the organized manner the event was planned and executed.
In particular, delegates from the states believed to be richer than Ekiti were jealous of the state of the art infrastructure in the state. At the Civic Center, where all the major activities were held, delegates were seen discussing in admiration facilities at the civic center which include museum, cinemas and supermart. Above all, the elegance and ambience of the civic center added colour to the event.
Of course the peak of the event was the different performances that featured at the event opening can only be compared to what obtains at Cannes Festival and the Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival which showcased colour, glamour and panache also gave participants the opportunity to experience superlative cultural diversity in Nigeria. It aptly lived up to the theme for the festival; “Celebrating, National Unity in Diversity,” as over 30 states of the federation featured during the event.
Though an entertainment platform, Ekiti State sure took it a notch higher this time around through the infusion of modern marketing that provided an advertising platform for sponsors. It thus became a unique platform to showcase goods and services thereby creating more bonding between the consumers and brand owners. At the end, it turned out to be a commerce and cultural festival.
In a way, the carnival confirmed the earlier position of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi that Ekiti had put necessary machinery in place to make the state the nation’s entertainment and tourism hub in the country. This was also the position of the Mayor of Tianjin Province, Xiao Song, who stated last year during a courtesy visit to Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in Ado Ekiti that the Civic Centre which was then under construction would be a long-term legacy project for the Ekiti State Government when completed.
The Mayor who was then represented by his Deputy, Hu Xiaoynang, added that the Civic Centre would upon completion showcase quality and expertise in construction work. The just concluded carnival gave credence to this opinion.
With the success of the carnival, it was obvious that unlike its counterparts, the state government had set out early to prepare for the hosting of the national festival. Since the close of last year’s edition of NAFEST in which it emerged the most- culturally creative and innovative state, beating 29 other states and carting home various prizes and laurels, it has not rested on its oars.
Delivering his keynote address during the official opening of the event, the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, and President, World Crafts Council (African Region), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe had noted that the festival is necessary to promote patriotism in the face of separatist agitations in different parts of Nigeria.
“NAFEST does not only provide a platform for Nigerians from different ethnic backgrounds to showcase their unique cultural manifestations, it also brings to the fore, the role of culture in national peace and harmony as well as the vast opportunity in the culture sector for job creation and economic empowerment,” he remarked.
In his welcome address, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism, Professor Rasaki Ojo Bakare had observed that “hosting of NAFEST by Ekiti State is a milestone because for the first time, such a huge event would be coming to Ekiti land whose resources are very low if compared to other states in the South West of the country.
However, he said “the opportunity to host the event was made possible because of the tremendous support enjoyed from the administration of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (CON) and his amiable wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi (Mama NAFEST) who he said relentlessly supervise and co-ordinate the activities of the sector from time to time”.
While declaring the festival open, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi had observed that the critical state of the nation requires harnessing the diverse culture as tools for social and political change.
“It is imperative to build our unique cultural economy to attract global attention,” he said. He added that culture is one of the main pillars of development. For him, apart from sports, NAFEST is an opportunity for all the 36 states to meet and celebrate national unity.
Since 1970 when NAFEST was instituted, it had served as a platform for talent hunt, skills development and marketing Nigeria’s cultural content. With entrepreneurial workshop as well as free medical testing and counselling, the festival proved to a holistic experience.
Back to back, as the hosting state, Ekiti State, the land of honour, again emerged overall winner of the 34th edition of NAFEST. This was announced during the closing ceremony at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion Ado-Ekiti. The state was followed by Rivers State, then Bayelsa and Benue States as joint third position, Delta and Nasarawa States came fourth, while Ogun and Lagos States got the fifth position.
Indeed the outcome of the yearly event favourably justified the views of destination branding experts. This was further corroborated by the earlier disclosures by Governor Kayode Fayemi when he said during the welcome address at Fountain Summit 2021 that Ekiti State is open for business.
Welcoming guests at the Fountain Summit, an economic forum earlier held in the state, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi had disclosed that; “in Ekiti State, we are in a hurry to develop. We are very intentional about development planning, and at the core of our efforts and strategy is a partnership approach that places a premium on creating the right condition that would attract investors and development partners, to support our aspirations”.
Besides, he told his audience that his administration “has put in place requisite laws and policies to ensure investor confidence and made massive investments in critical infrastructure and security-all geared towards making Destination Ekiti attractive and Competitive”.
As a buildup to what happened during the festival, Ekiti, had in 2019 organized Ekiti State Festival of Arts and Culture (EKIFEST) the festival, with the theme, Arts and Culture, Tool for Restoration of Values and Socio-economic Empowerment, was held ostensibly as a dress rehearsal for the hosting of the National Festival of Arts and Culture. Interestingly, while other states were still undecided on when to formally bid for the festival, Ekiti State had submitted a bid letter to National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in February 2020.
Beautiful waterfalls that will take your breath away
Waterfalls are one of the most spectacular geographic firms of nature. Niagara Falls, The Igazu Falls and more, the world is full of waterfalls which are there waiting for you to find.
We hope that you see that waterfalls are not just accidents; they’re incredible forms of nature. That’s why we’re going to share 18 photos of waterfalls which will make you fall in love.
Niagara Falls can be found in between the USA and Canada. There is 15,0000m of water falling down everyday which you can hear from far in the distance and will help you find your way to the waterfalls.
Near to the waterfall you can try all sort of outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking and camping. There’s also an aquarium and butterfly parks for the kids.
Victoria Falls are located on the Zambezi River also on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The waterfall got its name from an English explorer but the original was Mosi or Tunya which mean ‘thundering smoke’. They say the noise can be heard miles away which isn’t surprises as there are 70million litres of water falling down every minute.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel falls is the tallest waterfall in the world. They are almost 1km high (979 metres). Getting to Angel Falls requires a little mountaineering experience which is not suitable for everyone. First you have to get to Canaima National Park which is only possible by plane.
Source of the Mundo River, Spain
In the heart of Spain in the province of Albacete, lies the river Segura. This idyllic area takes you away from reality to another world. The best time to visit this waterfall is in spring or the months with more rain as there’s more water at this time of year.
Waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice waterfalls are located in Plitvice National Park which is a world heritage site in Croatia. Travelling to the waterfalls includes a boat trip on the biggest lake in Plitvice which is a journey through nature.
Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland
The largest waterfall in Europe is located up in chilly Iceland, halfway between Selfoss and Hafragilfoss in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park. You may not be able to pronounce the name the first time, the waterfalls are spectacular.
Cola De Caballo, Spain
The Cola de Caballo waterfall is located in the Ordesa valley in the Spanish Pyrenees. The visual effect of the water falls down the rock in the form of a zig zag. If you visit this waterfall in winter, the valley turns into a glacier, in other times of year it’s a normal valley.
Seven Sisters Waterfall, Norway
The Seven sisters Waterfall in Norway is one of the most impressive waterfalls you will ever see. The waterfall is actually divided into 7 parts which fall freely in the space of 250m. It’s located in the Geiranger fjord, which is another wonder of nature in itself.
Agua Azul Waterfall, Mexico
The Agua Azul waterfalls are located in the Chiapas state in Mexico. It doesn’t stand out for its height but actually for the blue colour of the water. To get there, you need to take a 5 hours hike through the countryside, so be prepared!
Kaieteur Falls, Venezuela
One of the most impressive waterfalls in south America are Kaieteur Falls, located in Keieteur National Park in Venezuela. Although less famous, its actually 5 times taller than Niagara Falls.
Nuranang Falls, India
Nuranang Falls in India is located near the city Tawang. It’s calls Nuarang Falls, Jung Falls or Bong Bong. The water comes out from the woods mixing the white foam with the green leaves, it’s a spectacular sight.
Seljalandsfoss Is one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland. This waterfall flows down 60 m into the Seljlandsá River and creates an astonishing view. It’s located in one of the quietest parts of Iceland and do you know that Game of thrones was filmed here?
Rucana Falls, Angola
There are hundreds of waterfalls in Africa but Rucana Falls is definitely the most powerful and the water seems to fall from every inch down from 120 metres. It’s definitely one of the most underrated waterfalls in the world and worth a visit as that means less tourists.
Jog Falls, India
This waterfall is special, as the water falls down directly onto the rocks rather than flowing along. This created a rain effect and means you’ll see a beautiful rainbow on a sunny day (which is very often here).
The Cascata delle Marmore, Italy
The Cascata delle Marmore is located in the Umbria region of Italy. It’s divided into three waterfalls which can amaze anyone visiting. The waterfall is surrounded by a park offering many different viewpoints for breath-taking views.
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
Ban Gioc waterfalls are some of the most beautiful in the world, located in between China and Vietnam. The humidity of the atmosphere here means there is moss and plants all around, creating an idyllic landscape. To get to the main waterfall you need to go through a cave!
Barron Falls, Australia
Barron falls are located in Queensland, Australia. They can be accessed by foot and to get to the best viewpoints there’s even a train. It’s ideal for visiting family and if you want to see something more than just kangaroos in Australia!
San Rafael Waterfall, Ecuador
The highest waterfall in Ecuador and one of the most stunning in the Amazon River. It’s surrounded by a tropical landscape.
In Hundredrooms, we currently don’t have waterfall houses but we do have holiday rentals in the closest cities! We leave you with an incredible view of Igazú Waterfall.
The 6 Best Luxury Hotels to See the Northern Lights This Winter
The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis to its friends) are a phenomena enjoyed by few simply because they occur so far north that you really do have to travel to catch them. But it’s well worth the effort for what’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Most often observed within the Arctic Circle, you’re going to want to stay somewhere warm, but also worth the journey. So here are some suggestions…
From hot springs to glaciers to stunning snowscapes, Iceland has it all, to add in that it’s the perfect spot to see the Northern Lights just feels greedy! The highest rated resort in Southern Iceland, Hotel Rangá has 52 rooms and suites as well as a riverside fine-dining restaurant. A celebrity hotspot (no pun) of sorts, it’s hosted the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Bear Grylls, not to mention Kirsty and Phil from Location, Location (should we have just stopped after Jake Gyllenhaal?), the hotel might be noted for its luxury accommodation, but really it’s the Northern Lights that set Hotel Rangá apart.
Lights spotters can request a wake-up call to ensure they catch them, providing warm clothes and blankets for guests and custom made benches to rest on while they enjoy the display.
There’s no shortage of igloo hotels out there, but you couldn’t possibly be more northern than Sorrisniva even if you had a whippet and a flat cap. The northern-most igloo hotel in the world is rebuilt every year from the ground up, replete with 30 rooms, measuring a total of 2,500 square metres and created with artwork from talented sculptors. As well as suites there’s an ice bar (even the glasses are made of ice), an ice gallery and an ice -chapel.
But away from the snow, the hotel’s northernness lend itself to something else, the northern lights (did you think we’d forgotten them?), in peak northern lights season (September to March) the hotel puts on local tours which combine the lights with cultural storytelling.
You know what you’re getting with a Fairmont hotel, pampering, comfort and a level of luxury that you’d only expect from the group that owns The Savoy. And Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is no exception, a 700 acre mountain resort on the shores of Lac Beauvert and within Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as over 300 rooms as well as luxury cabins, the hotel sports one of Canada’s best golf courses.
The hotel also offers their Dark Sky winter experience, which starts at the Jasper Planetarium and is led by astronomy experts before heading outside to the LED-lit Dark Sky Plateau to enjoy the 11,000 acres of never-ending views of constellations and galaxies. As well as the largest telescopes in the Rockies, and the expertise of the astronomy expert there’s hot chocolate and s’mores plus, of course, the northern lights.
Those who lie in glass houses, won’t have time to throw any stones if they’re at Levin Iglut, because they’ll be transfixed by the northern lights. The luxury glass igloos look straight up into the northern lights. Some of the igloos come with outdoor jacuzzis and a private terrace, and all have the sort of view you money can’t buy along with the sort of breakfast, served to your igloo, that money definitely can buy.
Away from the en-suite, luxury igloos, the hotel’s Restaurant Aurora Sky is the ideal place to eat some authentic Scandi food before an evening spent looking at the sky (which, conveniently, you can also do at the restaurant thanks in part to the glass spire roof!
If your mental image of Alaska involves nothing but cabins in the wilderness, then you’ve already got Winterlake Lodge in your mind’s eye. It’s the ultimate cabin and it’s most definitely in the wilderness (best accessed by seaplane!). The main lakeside lodge, wooden and designed for the cold, is the ideal place for escaping everything the Alaskan weather can throw, the perfect respite with open fires, dining and cozy sitting area as well as a library of Alaskan classics. There’s also daily yoga, wine tastings, and massages and a further six cabins for larger groups or busier times.
And, of course, there’s the northern lights, which light up the horizon throughout the dark months.
If you want to explore Iceland, start at Húsafell. The 48 room hotel boasts incredible views and enough luxury as you’ll need after a day out in the windy wilderness. The restaurant serves seasonal Icelandic fare (the raised fire pit in the centre is enough to revive the coldest of hands) but the geothermic baths would be even more ideal, with two large pools this Icelandic tradition is alive and well at Húsafell.
And, because we’re all here for the northern lights, Húsafell is well placed to take advantage of the far reaching views to enjoy the phenomena. The hotel offers a wake-up call and is right tin the centre of aurora zone (no surprise that the the Northern Lights Institute is located nearby). Expect around three sightings a week, which is pretty good.
Get ready to dine Arctic circle style, with dishes of moose, reindeer (sorry Rudolph), Arctic char and whitefish as well as berries picked from the nearby forest making up chef Johan’s menu at the Arctic Gourmet Cabin. Possibly the smallest fine dining restaurant in the world with a maximum four diners, plus chef and sommelier, this is the definitive intimate dining experience. Away from gourmet, there’s plenty to talk about in the cabin department too. There’s two of them (this is seriously bijoux) decorated in simple style and underlining just how personalised the experience at Arctic Gourmet Cabin really is.
And if you’re after some northern lights action you shouldn’t be disappointed. Away from the light pollution, the lights can be enjoyed from the comfort of the hotel’s ourdoor bathtub!
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