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Tourism stakeholders call for Disneyland Park in Nigeria

18 July 2015, 17:35

Lagos - Tourism stakeholders on Saturday called for a Disneyland franchise in Nigeria to boost the nation's tourism sector.

The stakeholders said a replication of Disneyland Park in the country would transform it into tourists’ destination.

Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955.

It is the only theme park designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney a renowned Hollywood movie entrepreneur.

Walt Disney came up with the concept of Disneyland after visiting various amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s.

After hiring a consultant to help him determine an appropriate site for his project, Walt bought a 160-acre site near Anaheim in 1953.

Disneyland has a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world with over 650 million guests since it opened.

Mrs Nike Okundaye, the Managing Director of Nike Arts Gallery, Lagos, said she was amazed at the wonders at Disneyland at Los Angeles, U.S. which had unique rides, toys, games, animals among others.

She said the equipment were capable of keeping an individual perpetually thrilled and enthralled.

According to her, a replication of such a facility in the country can transform the lives of Nigerians and boost tourism

"Nigerians who are stressed and depressed can visit a place like that in the country and become happier and healthier.

"The children's mental faculty can be easily sharpened through the rides, toys and games," Okundaye said.

The artist observed that the Walt Disney in Florida which was opened to the public several years ago had transformed the community to one of the biggest international vacation destinations in the world.

Also read: Boko Haram, Ebola stunt Nigerian tourism sector

"Nigeria can tap into this and revive the tourism sector to generate huge revenue for the country."

Also speaking, Segun Adefila, the Managing Director of Crown Troupe of Africa, said it was long over due for Nigeria to have such a facility.

He, however, said he and other investor might invest in it to create an African Disney world in Nigeria and make the nation a tourism hub.

He said Nigeria could create such a theme park against the backdrop of the nation’s rich cultures.

"This kind of theme park should be all- encompassing in the country like the way it is run in foreign countries.

"We should have a zoo, cinema houses, swimming pool, hotels where people can relax and a host of others," Adefila said.

For Adeniyi Olokun, the Secretary of Hotel and Personnel Services Employers' Association (HOPESEA), the government should show interest in the creation of Disney world through partnership with the private sector.

"The banks can also buy into this by encouraging individuals, group of people who want to obtain loans to set it up

"It is a lucrative business where huge revenue can be generated," he said.

An art consultant, Ben-Johnson Egbele, also believed that a Disney world should be established in the country.

"A Disneyland Park in Nigeria should be based on the nation's culture and not Western culture or concept.

"Disney world in Florida, Paris and others are basically depicting the Western culture.

"African arts, crafts, sculptures, bronze works, paintings and more should be exhibited and foreign tourists who are interested in learning our craft will take advantage of it."

Egbele added: "All aspects of our national life should be represented there as well as the cultural practices of the major ethnic groups in the country."


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