The National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), a parastatal of the Federal Government established by an Act of Parliament to train, certify and register personnel in Nigeria’s hospitality, travel, and tourism sector, on 4th of May 2023, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Atelier Concierge Services Limited on partnerships to promote and host the 2023 Gastronomy Festival. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the management of both organisations at the headquarters of NIHOTOUR in Abuja.
Some weeks ago, the Management of NIHOTOUR had announced the dates and venue of this year’s Gastronomy Festival as June 16th and 17th2023, to hold at the Abuja International Conference Centre. This year’s Gastronomy Festival is the third consecutive food and beverage exhibition and sampling event,initiated and annually organized by NIHOTOUR, since 2021. The theme for this year’s festival is “Culinary Arts: The Gate Way to Growing Tourism Destination”.
The Director General of NIHOTOUR, Nura Sani Kangiwa, at the occasion of signing the MOU in his office, remarked that he’s set big goals for this year’s Gastronomy Festival. He explained thatthe festival this year will be the biggest, so far, in terms of number of participating brands and exhibitors, and the most diverse, in terms of arrays of different Nigerian and international foods and beverages. These goals, he further clarified, informed the need for partnership with Atelier ConciergeLimited – a leading travel, tourism, and hospitality businessin Nigeria.
In her response to the Director General’s remarks, Mrs. Lucia CobbinaShittu, the Chief Executive Officer of Atelier Concierge Limited disclosed that,“we are excitedthat Atelier Concierge is joining forces with NIHOTOUR for the upcoming celebration of the Gastronomy Festival, scheduled to take place in Abuja from the 16th to the 17th of June 2023. This momentous occasion presents a perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to enhancing Nigeria’s tourism industry through the promotion of its cultural assets, locally inspired cuisine, vibrant fashion, and much more.At Atelier Concierge, our travel concierge service understands that to succeed in today’s dynamic and fast-paced environment, it takes collaboration, innovation, and creativity. Our partnership with NIHOTOUR, an institution renowned for its unparalleled expertise in tourism and hospitality, is a testament to our values and our mission to bridge the gap in the industry.”
Among watchers and stakeholders in Nigeria’s hospitality and tourism sectors, it is empirically evident that there is dearth of skilled and competitive culinary artists in Nigeria. Hence, on initiating the Gastronomy Festival in 2021, theManagement of NIHOTOUR has always maintained that theFestival is conceptualised and programmed to upskill Nigerian gastronomes and culinary artistson the technicalities,and emerging global best practises, ofprocessing, preparing, presenting, packaging and promotion of foods, especially Nigerian traditional cuisines. Understandably,NIHOTOUR’s objective of investing in such mega Gastronomy Festival is, among other things, to improve the expertise of personnel in the industry, especially those in the eatery, restaurants, and hotels sub-sectors, across tourist destinations in Nigeria.
NIHOTOUR’s Gastronomy Festival is one of the most culturally eclectic culinary arts and related gastronomy event in Africa. The event attracts over 5000 visitors and industry stakeholders who participate in the experiential learning of food production processes and indulge in free sampling of diverse Nigerian and international cuisines and beverages on display. Typically, the festival is laced with traditional gaiety and entertainments that highlight Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity, including musicals and dance choreography.
In the previous editions of the Festival, large corporate organizations, such as Fan Milk Danone and the diplomatic community in Nigeria, including, China, Spain, and Ethiopia showcased their countries’ food culture and revealed their traditional processes of cuisines preparation – from farm to the table. Expectedly, this year’s festival will attract more foreign missions and corporate Nigerian brands involved in food and beverage processing, research, and development.
Activities lined-up for this year’s Gastronomy Festival include some of the signature features namely, essay writing/quiz for secondary schools, cooking competition amongst culinary schools, exhibitions of cuisines by select African and European countries, and diverse culinary arts displays such as Knife skills, Fruit Carving, Cake decoration and others. There would also be conferences involving Nigeria’s leading tourism and hospitality stakeholders and business operators, especially those that are members of the Hospitality and Tourism Sector Skills Council of Nigeria (HTSSCN) of which NIHOTOUR is the sole National Coordinator. Additionally, NIHOTOUR would deliver training and masterclasses for members of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Travel Writers (ANJET).
The 2023 NIHOTOUR Gastronomy Festivalwill be rounded-off with a large Gala Night, whereby honorary investitures of Fellowship of NIHOTOUR (FHTI) would be given to outstanding individuals who have contributed to the development of Nigeria’s Tourism & Hospitality industry or education. There will also be awards and prize-giving to winners of the culinary schools’cooking competitions.