History was made as the winners of the fourth edition of Nigeria Tourism Awards were announced via a virtual event. Nigeria Tourism Awards, also known as The Balearica Awards, named and design after the Crowned Crane which was once voted the national bird of Nigeria, has held for the previous three years at the luxury Federal Palace Hotel. The organizers, however switched to a virtual event for this edition due to the rising numbers of the Covid-19 infections in Nigeria and the health risks of large gatherings.
It was also the first time that the winners of the awards were determined by a new scoring process. The potential winners were judged and scored on the set criteria for their category. For the previous editions the winners were determined via public nominations and online voting. The number of awards were also increased from 24 to 45 for this edition to cover the diverse nature of the tourism industry.
According to the CEO of the awards, Mr. Efetobo Awhana, “2020 was indeed a difficult year for every practitioner in the tourism industry…. Nigeria Tourism Awards 2020 recognises those tourism firms and individuals who have gone out of their way to boost domestic tourism whilst Covid-19 ravaged the world”
The most anticipated categories for 2020 went to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Best Tourism Governor), Otunba Segun Runsewe (Tourism Personality of the Year), Dr Adebisi Obawale (Best Tourism Commissioner), Alado of Ado Awaye, HRM Oba Ademola Folakanmi (Royal Support for Tourism), and Omotoke Fatoki (Young Tourism Personality of the Year). Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Chief Mike Amachree and Mr Jemi Alade.
There were also special recognition awards for Hon. Rotimi Amaechi (Tourism Infrastructure); Conservator-General of National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni (Essential Duties); Prince Adeyanju Lipede (Tourism Investment) and Sterling Bank (Tourism Support). Others who received the individual awards include the National President of NANTA, Mrs Susan Akporiaye; National President of ATBOWATON, Mr Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun; MD of Sprints Travels, Mrs Bunmi Aremu; MD of Aviator Travels, Mrs Tinuke Nwakohu; MD of Traveltron, Mrs Bimbo Durosinmi-Etti; DG of CRIMMD, Dr Raphael James and the DG of NTDC, Mr Folorunsho Coker.
Some of the outstanding tourism brands who won their categories for 2020 include Z Kitchen (Premium Dining Restaurant), Tamberma Ibadan (Best Ethnic Restaurant), Work And Play (Best Tourism Promotion Initiative), Radisson Blu Anchorage Lagos (Best International Chain Hotel), Transcorp Calabar (Best Independent Brand Hotel), Jara Beach Resort (Best Beach Hotel), La Campagne Tropicana (Best Resort), TVC News (Best Tourism Support Media), Angel Style World Travels (Best Domestic Tour Operator), Zee Goes (Best Travel Blog), Skyview Communications (Tourism Innovation), and Badagry (Best Tourism Destination). The Envoy Hotel Abuja went home with two awards for Best Boutique Hotel (More Than 50 Rooms) and Best Luxury Hotel. The full list of awards can be found online at bestofnigeria.travel website.