We are about a month away from the festive period, so do you know what that means for Nigeria? As the December period approaches, we would start to see a lot of events organized by several promotional companies. This, in turn, means that there would be a large influx of Nigerian returnees as well as a handful of foreigners who would feel the warm embrace and pulsating vibes of Afrobeats that remains the magnet to this populous country in Africa rather than the cold depressing winter in Europe and America.
Over the years, the December period has always brought the city of Lagos to a standstill because it is literally busy and packed with people and a stack of events. It was not until last year that several Lagosians on social media began to hashtag the word #DettyDecember. This word finally became the symbolism for all events happening during the Christmas festive period.
This year, musical artists from the likes of Davido and Mayorkun would be having an end of year concert for fans. Foreign artists would also be present in the country. Flytime festival would be hosting a 4-day event from the 20th to the 25th of December, which would feature foreign top A-list celebrities, such as American female rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, Koffee (Jamaican reggae singer), Ma$e (American rapper), and Boyz II Men.
So why is it exactly that Detty December has all of sudden become very trendy?
According to an article by OkayAfrica, it is believed that the growth of Afrobeats in the foreign market has resonated well with the diaspora. Thus, it has given Africans abroad the willingness to reconnect with their African roots. On the African American side, Detty December has become of interest to many native black Americans not only in the realms of tourism but also in the area of genealogy. ScienceMag.org reports that the average African American genome in a DNA testing is about 73.2% African, which basically confirms their obvious African heritage.
As a result, many African Americans want to travel back to motherland during this Detty December to explore their ancestral history and to reconnect with the past.
[READ MORE: What the Year of Return means for Ghana tourism]
The benefits that Nigeria would enjoy from the Detty December period would be the boost in tourism. The tourism sector has been growing yearly and it is has contributed in the growth of our nation. According to Reuters, a World Bank report asserted that Nigeria brought in a total of $1.09 billion from international tourism in the year 2016.
Another report from Wesgro in South Africa highlighted an increase of 12% in Nigerian tourism in 2017. Although the same report from Wesgro stated that foreign investors contributed only 6.8% to Nigeria’s tourism GDP, it cited the potential that Nigeria has to expand the tourism sector for the future years. The report projects a 1.7% increase in tourism by 2027 that would generate N205.4 Billion.
Nigeria has 36 states; however, a flurry of December events happen in Lagos, providing opportunities for other states to tap into the spirit of the season and generate revenues from tourism. Strangely, Ghana is leveraging this opportunity and many Nigerian artistes will be performing in Ghana as well.
While security concerns remain a constant challenge in Nigeria with threats of Boko Haram, there is no denying that Nigeria has a lot to offer to the outside world. The Detty December period is when foreigners get to experience the culture and lifestyle of Nigerian entertainment and cuisine. I personally implore all foreigners to take a trip to Nigeria this year to enjoy and engage in our wonderful festivities.
My optimistic side tells me the excitement might tempt you to reside permanently in Nigeria.
Paul Olele Jnr writes from Washington DC. He is a 2019 graduate of George Washington University and currently works as graduate Media and Research Intern at the Initiative for Global Development.