TRAVEL AND LEISURE
The creative and tourism industries in Ekiti State and environs are still counting the benefits of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST 2021) concluded last Saturday in Ado-Ekiti, which brought participants from across the country under one roof.
The 34th edition of the festival opened with a colourful cultural parade/match pass. Rivers, Nasarawa, Benue, Imo, Ogun and Ekiti States dominated with their displays of culture and lifestyle.
While the festival lasted, the various states contingents promoted their cultures and heritages as well as creative ingenuity.
There were lots of competition, including dance, drama and cuisine competition, as well as business-networking opportunities.
Many had a chance to explore various foods across the country.
NAFEST 2021 was not only an avenue to further bond as a people with diverse cultural background, it impacted on the economy of Ekiti State.
Restaurant operators, taxi drivers and craft makers made good sales. A popular eatery at the cultural pavilion in Fajuyi, Ado-Ekiti, Princess Kitchen, talked about how she had to get more hands to assist her to meet demand.
Pounded yam served with vegetable soup was favourites of visitors at Princess Kitchen.
Runsewe said the tourism industry in Ekiti smiled to the bank as they got more patrons. He hinted on the improved hotel room occupancy level as one of the benefits of the hosting rights. “I was told all the hotels in Ekiti were full while NAFEST 2021 was on,” said the elated Runsewe.
Governor Kayode Fayemi concurred about the positive impact of the hosting NAFEST 2021. He said he was excited and appreciated the organisers for choosing Ekiti as its destination for 2021, adding that it drew global attention to the state.
Fayemi said the economic, cultural and creative fortunes of Ekiti State benefited from this unique festival.
The governor said the festival was a unique opportunity to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and diversity.
He said, “Culture and development work pari pasu.”
Fayemi, while speaking during the opening ceremony of the event with the theme “Celebrating National Unity in Diversity,” said, “We know and understand that culture is one of the main pillars of development. Without culture, it is certain that development would be greatly hindered.”
He said the critical state of the nation “requires that efforts be intensified to revive diverse culture and enhance the potential of arts to ensure social and political stability, both of which hinge on the viability of the economy.”
The National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC), organisers of the event expressed its determination to consistently use culture to foster national unity and improve the economies of the local communities.
Beyond the music and dance that characterized NAFEST 2021, the nation’s culture chief, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, DG of NCAC also organised an “Entrepreneurial Roundtable” and skill acquisition programme for schoolchildren in the state.
Resource persons, who are successful entrepreneurs, including the famous young lady packaging Iru Ekiti condiment for exports, Funke Awodiye, were on ground to speak to schoolchildren during.
TRAVEL AND LEISURE