The 2018 Heritage Bikers Tour has commenced with a trip to Gurara Falls in Lambata in Niger.
The Heritage Bikers tour is being organised by a group of international and local bikers, under the auspices of Latin American Motorcycle Association (LAMA) in conjunction with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).
The bikers are on a tour of Nigeria’s historical heritage sites and the sites to be visited by the bikers include museums, monuments and homes of national heroes, among others.
Ben Ogbeide, the Deputy Director (Finance & Accounts), NCMM, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the aim of the tour was to rediscover Nigeria and its very rich cultural heritage.
Ogbeide, who is also the Chairman, Organising Committee for the Rediscovered Heritage Bikers Tour 2018, noted that bikers embarking on the road trip were drawn from Nigeria, U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, Paraguay, Germany, Holland and other countries.
According to Ogbeide, the group will tour 14 states to highlight the heritage sites, cultural assets, museums and the Osun Oshogbo World Heritage site.
He explained that the expedition was intended to project various heritage sites in Nigeria, draw attention to them; and attract tourists and visitors.
“We have assembled bikers from all over the world and they are all here to help us advertise our historical and heritage sites.
“This is especially because the present government is particularly interested in concentrating on the non-oil revenue sector of which the museums and heritage sites are one of such.
“So, what we are trying to showcase here today is the lovely scenery and splendour of the Gurara Falls in Niger State.
“We are here to make sure we market and sell what we have here to the world. We want to encourage our bikers that have come from all over the world to invest in our cultural heritage sites.
“We are assuring all Nigerians and the rest of the world that this is going to continue and next year promises to be even bigger.
“Our bikers are enthusiastic, they are happy and they are looking forward to seeing more sites,’’ he said.
Ernest Akhikpemelo, the Organiser/Initiator President of LAMA, Nigerian Chapter, told NAN that the bikers were in the country to explore the culture of Nigeria, learn about Nigeria and then tell the world about Nigeria.
“This is indeed a beautiful site that can attract a lot more international tourists.
“As you can see, we are here with a lot of internationals from Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, U.S., Germany, Syria and Egypt. We are all here to showcase what we have in the country,’’ Akhikpemelo said.
He called on government to pay more attention to development of the site to attract more international visitors.
“You cannot sell what people don’t know and that’s why we have decided to organise this tour and tagged it `Rediscover Heritage Bikers Tour.
“The idea is to showcase what we have and tell the world that we have beautiful places in Nigeria,’’ Akhikpemelo said.
He said that such places could in turn become vital sources of income to the country if well harnessed and developed.
Some tourists who spoke with NAN after the tour expressed delight at the site (Gurara Falls), adding that it was a beautiful and wonderful experience which they would cherish for a lifetime.
Lynnae Buie from Florida, U.S. said: “This site is beautiful and I particularly enjoyed the ride all the way from Abuja to this place.
“Nigeria is a beautiful country, the people are beautiful and I am having a great time. This is a wonderful country.
“There is a lot this country has to offer to the world and I can’t wait to see more.
“The government must ensure that all these wonderful sites are well preserved and taken care of so that more international visitors can be attracted to come here’’.
Francisco Samperio from Mexico described the trip as a fun, saying that “even though, it took us a long time to get here (about three hours) but it was worth it at the end’’.
Mario Nieves from Puerto Rico said the site was simply amazing and breath-taking, adding that there was need to develop the topography and landscape to allow for easy access to the site.
NAN reports that the tourists would move to Calabar, Cross River.
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