CHIEF Mike Amachree, a foremost tourism practitioner and elder statesman, became a professional in tourism in 1973 when he established Buguma Club in his hometown. The social club later moved to Port Harcourt where he ventured into hospitality business since 1976 till today.
He was the first operator of the old Port Harcourt Tourist Beach in Rivers State and founding father of the Tourism Associations in Nigeria
In this chat on his travel experience with JIMOH BABATUNDE, the holder of many chieftaincy titles and initiator of many tourism projects across the country disclosed that he can not travel out of Nigeria without his traditional paraphernalia. Here is an excerpt:
ON his traveling
I travel a lot as a travel practitioner to different part of the world and in the country, but of recent, I have not been traveling because as a kalabiri chief I have a lot to do in the village. But, between Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, I do a lot of travelling because my businesses span these three cities. I have hotels in these cities.
On the cities he likes visiting
I mostly travel to San Francisco because my sister lives there, apart from that it is a hilly city, decent and it used to be the financial headquarters of America. I do go there to learn about managing tourism business as a tourist city too.
There is a place they call fisher man’s wharf. That place used to attract me, in that place if you start from the centre; you can go with cable car.
Mode of daily transportation
Cable cars are a traditional mode of daily transportation for San Franciscans, and an eagerly sought adventure for every visitor. Since 1964, the cable car has been designated by the National Park Service as a “national landmark”. I do enjoy the cable car from one point to another. When you reach the water side, there are boats that take you to the place where Americans used to keep prisoners, called Alcatraz island.
In Nigeria, I used to like travelling to Jos, but in recent time, the crisis there has turned away many tourists like me. The weather in Jos is just like that of sans Francisco as well as being a hilly city. Nature has richly endowed Plateau State with scenic beauty. Mostly rocky and treeless, the state contains chains of hills and many interesting rock formations. The landscape ranges from bare rocks to man-made.
On things he takes along on travelling
Whatever I use as a kalabari chief is a must for me when I am travelling, I must go with my cap, my walking stick. There was a day I travelled to one of these American cities with my walking stick in a bus and the bus driver shouted that they should stand up for a disable person. So, a young lady stood up for me, I told her that I am not disable, but a chief in my country. So, my walking stick and cap are two items, I will not travel without.
On his choice of hotel
For me, cleanliness is the hallmark; I am not swayed by the star or name, but any place that is clean both within and outside. The toilets must be clean and the hotel close to the locals of that destination I am visiting as well as accessibility to transportation.
On his best hotel
In Cancun in Mexico, there was this hotel, I stayed that I liked very well
On the choice of airline
I will vote for the German carrier any day any time. The reason is that no country hates the Germans and their aircrafts are well maintained
On where he wants to visit again
Bahamas and where they buried king Jaja in Caribbean. Orlando Florida
On personalities he has met on board and wants to meet again
Raymond Dokpesi. He is someone I have travelled with and will wan to do so again.
On how to promote domestic travel
In water, we should have bigger boat with life jackets and minimized passengers. On the road, the roads have to be maintained while we need good and new aircrafts to fly the airspace.