Olota of Otta, others, task federal government on tourism development

Stakeholders in the Nigerian tourism sector have charged government at all levels in the country to focus more on tourism to boost development as an alternative revenue source to the country oil wealth which is fast dwindling.

The stakeholders made this call yesterday in Lagos during a 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 potentialities 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 were developed over the years to attract local and International tourists.”

He identified the egungun masquerade festival as one of the tourism potentials to leverage upon, likewise the monumental buildings across communities which could be converted to tourists sites.

” With the huge tourism potential we are blessed with in the country, we should not be complaining about lack of jobs, individuals must be creative and tap into these tourism potentials.

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” Nigerians need not depend on the government for job creation, government is only meant to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive..

Also Dr Gbenga Olowo, Managing Director, Sabre Network, West Africa, urged the government to take the tourism industry seriously by sufficient budgetary allocation for the sector.

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 the sector.

He said other African countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Gambia were doing well in tourism because they had been able to work on improved connectivity, good infrastructures, visa relaxation policy and more.

He, however, urged the Nigerian government to collaborate with the private sector, intensify efforts in fighting security and terrorism, create policy for ease of doing business, good and safe roads for tourism businesses to thrive in Nigeria.

” 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 for the tourism industry annually because the returns will be in multiples at the end of the day.

” There are only two hanging lakes in the world, the one at Colorado, United States of America and the Ado Awaye hanging lake in Oyo which is not well marketed for international recognition.

“The one in Colorado generates over a million visitors annually, we must let the world know what we have and encourage them to visit,” he said.

Also 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 can’t be neglected and doing so over the years has not augured well for Nigeria and the people.

He gave example of how he, through La Campagne has succeeded in transforming Ikegun community where his resort is based to one of the richest and fast developing locality in Nigeria, adding that he has economically empowered the people and transformed their lives and the community.

He recommended such a model to the Nigeria government and Nigerians, urging everyone to local inward and see where they have comparative advantage and latch on to it for the development of the people.

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