Southern Sun sells Nigeria to South Africans
Selected team of top South African journalists from the print and electronic media that were recently in Nigeria for a familiarization tour of the country has described Nigeria as a wonderful country.
The familiarization tour was organised by Tsogo Sun, South Africa, owners of Southern Sun Ikoyi in partnership with South African Airways (SAA).
The team that was in the country for three days and toured some tourists sites in Lagos described Nigeria as a very exciting place far different from the story they hear from outside.
Speaking on the tour, the Corporate Manager-Group Communications, Tsogo Sun, and Priya Naidoo said “We experienced Nigeria, and it is really wonderful. We didn’t really see only the great parts of Nigeria; we also got to see the market…what is so wonderful is the Nigerian spirit. You have amazing traders. The entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians is phenomenal.”
Speaking further on the reason for the tour, she said it was to give the journalists a first-hand experience of Nigeria and also sell Nigeria as a destination to South Africans.
She said: “What we wanted was for some South African journalists to come out and experience Nigeria and, of course, our hotel. “Our core purpose is to let South Africans know, when they come to Nigeria, we’ve got an amazing hotel, Southern Sun, Ikoyi that is really the reason we are here.”
Part of the reason for the trip, which was organized in collaboration with the South African Airways, was to correct some of the erroneous impressions some in South Africa have about Nigeria, according to Naidoo.
She said: “The other reason that we are here is that we brought the largest radio station. John Robbie is our Breakfast Show host, and we brought his entire team to broadcast from Southern Sun Ikoyi. What was wonderful about that is he has a wide audience, people listen to him. He has the ability to change people’s mindsets.
“When we initially arrived, we were all anxious because we did not really know what we would meet. We were so pleasantly surprised and he was also saying at this morning show how amazing it had been because he was so surprised by the Nigerian people. There were no safety issues; he just felt really great.
“We live in Johannesburg, we suffer from the same safety concerns that you suffer in terms of perception. When people think of everything that is happening right now, you will think that it is unsafe to come to Nigeria, and we’ve just proved the fact that it is not true. Since we arrived in Nigeria, we’ve had an amazing trip, we’ve had an amazing welcome by the people of Nigeria. They’ve really been wonderful. Yet, we had perceived it was going to be dangerous, but it was not.”
She also talked about some of the places visited: ”We went around on a boat cruise into the Atlantic. We saw shipping villages, ports and so on. We went to see the markets; we went to Balogun Market and another one. We were at Yellow Chillie Restaurant. We ate typical Nigerian food with goat meat, very spicy. It was really very pleasant and lovely.”