ANJET seminar: Olota of Otta, Olowo, Akinboboye, others task FG on policy-driven tourism development
Stakeholders in the Nigerian tourism sector have urged government at all levels to focus more on tourism to boost development as alternative source to the country’s oil wealth which is fast dwindling.
The stakeholders made this call recently in Lagos during an annual tourism seminar organised by the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET).
The Olota of Otta, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, who took the lead on the seminar theme: “Tourism and Jobs: Better Future for All” urged the government and Nigerians to explore tourism potential for job creation and revenue generation.
Obalanlege said that Nigerians must stop depending on the government for job creation but get creative to explore the enormous tourism potential the country was endowed with.
“Festivals in each community could be developed by members of such communities to generate revenue while ensuring that the festivals are developed over the years to attract local and International tourists,” He said.
He identified the egungun festival as an example of tourism potential to leverage upon, likewise the monumental buildings across communities which could be converted to tourist sites.
Obalanlege said, “With the huge tourism potential we are blessed with in the country, we should not be complaining about lack of jobs. the country.
“Nigerians need not to depend on the government for job creation; the government is only meant to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”
Also, managing Director, Sabre Network, West Africa, Dr Gbenga Olowo, urged government to take the tourism industry seriously by making sufficient budgetary allocation to the sector.
The Olowo, who was represented by Mr Mayowa Badewa, deputy zonal director, western Zone, Sabre Travel Network, said that the tourism industry must be prioritised as huge employment opportunities could be derived from it.
He, however, urged the Nigerian government to collaborate with the private sector, intensify efforts in fighting security, create policy for ease of doing business and provide good roads for tourism businesses to thrive.
“We are known to be the giant of Africa, and Nigeria is not recorded in the list of the top 10 visited countries in Africa because we are not doing things correctly.
“Government should try to allocate huge revenue to the tourism industry annually because the returns will be in multiples at the end of the day.
Speaking, the president of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Lagos, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, declared that the power of tourism sector in transforming a community, people and the country is such that it cannot be neglected, and doing so over the years has cost Nigeria and its people a lot.
He gave the example of how he, through La Campagne Tropicana, had Ikegun community where his resort is based to one of the richest and fast developing localities in Nigeria, adding that he had economically empowered the people and transformed their lives.
He recommended such a model to the Nigerian government and Nigerians, urging everyone to look inward and see where they have comparative advantage and latch on to it for the development of the people.
The event was attended by big names in the tourism industry.
The association commended one of the association patrons, Chief Samuel Alabi, and the management of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, for their kind gesture of providing the seminar venue and refreshment for the guests.