Film, Tourism, Integration and where they meet -By Jogbojogbo Abdulrahman

Filed under: National Issues |

 

Nigeria is a country of about 180 million people. As is expected of a population so large, Nigeria is very diverse with over 500 languages spoken, and over 300 tribes in the country. This diversity, beautiful as it is also causes friction, conflict and confusion.

Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s biggest hotel booking platform looks at how through film, Nigeria can make the best of its potential to diversify into tourism, and help integrate Nigeria’s 180 million-strong population.

Great films are impressionable, and this property is the one most important attributes of film that makes it the perfect tool for driving the tourism sector and helping to create better sociocultural integration in Nigeria.

Film and Tourism

Already, Nollywood has crafted a name for itself as a huge content churning machine whose dominance spreads across the lengths of Africa. In a BBC report where Africans from other African countries were interviewed on their perception of Nigeria, nearly all the respondents that had positive things to say formed their impression on Nigerians through their exposure to Nigerian cinema. With a little bit more effort, Nigerian films can be transformed from just a platform to tell the Nigerian story into one through which we draw tourists to the country.

Arugba, a 2008 movie that centred around the Osun Osogbo festival is a beautiful example of a movie that was designed to entertain, showcase Nigeria’s diversity, and attract tourists from all corners of the world.

 

Several other movies that were set in Lagos, Abuja,  Calabar, Ibadan, and other locations that have infrastructure to benefit from tourism can enjoy increased flights, hotel lodgings, sales of memorabilia and other economic benefits that come with tourism.

Film Tourism

Film tourism is an aspect of tourism that benefits from movies that have showcased the locations where they were shot or assumed to be shot in favourable light. Films that create this opportunity usually tell great stories and are set in scenes and locations that feature in the movie in ways that evoke an emotional connection of story and location.

London for instance is one town that has drawn tourists through great films such as Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes amongst others.

Nigeria does not have a shortage of impressive landmarks and iconic locations and through great storytelling and mastery of cinematography, we too can promote and create landmarks of locations in Nigeria and develop tourism in the process.

Film and sociocultural integration

Sociocultural integration is defined as the incorporation of disparate ethnic, social and cultural elements of a population into a unified and unrestricted society.

Nigeria’s vastness and diversity already creates a problem of constant friction of cultures and beliefs. This friction coupled with residues from the Nigerian civil war creates a constant threat of conflict that the country must live with.

In other countries such as Rwanda that have faced similar wars and that have similar challenges as Nigeria, film makers have sought to retell the stories of horror and loss to the public through movies like Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April with the expectation that it reminds the public of the horrors of war, and the chaos that could have been avoided had peace been embraced.

Also, great films help bridge social divides as they bring together people from all social strata through great storytelling. For years in Nigeria, Wale Adenuga’s Super Story was a common social bonding point for Nigerians as are new movies that proliferate the Nigerian entertainment space today.

Through films, people from different tribes and culture get to learn that other cultures aren’t so different from theirs and that common grounds exist in all Nigerian cultures. Great movies help to reinforce these similarities while setting up cultural differences as things to be appreciated and proud of. The unlikely romance in movies like ’76 and North East help to reinforce this message. Twists such as those in October 1 pass this exact message too as do several from great Nigerian movies.

Final Thoughts

“No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls”. These are the words of Ingmar Bergman, a celebrated film maker. The quote shows the very reason why films are a subtle and effective way of igniting an idea and reinforcing them, the reason why they are the perfect tool for driving tourism and socio cultural integration.

Nigeria, over to you!

 

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