‘How to enhance tourism development’
Following the economic crunch facing the country, with plummeting oil prices, diversification in other areas especially Nigeria’s untapped tourism potentials would help shore up economic prosperity. This was the view of Group Managing Director, Nanet Hotel and Suites, Lagos, Mr. Ini Akpabio. He recently canvassed cardinal goals which he said would help the federal and state governments draw up blueprints for tourism development.
Akpabio gave the recommendation during a press briefing in Lagos last Saturday. He noted that the economy would have performed better if government gave the sector the needed attention.
According to him, “The Federal Government is not yet convinced that tourism sector can take the position of oil by fetching the country huge revenue. As a key player in the industry, I strongly believe that tourism sector can be used as an alternative to earning from oil if necessary measures are put in place”.
Akpabio pointed out that “tourism rebirth remains the reliable means of repositioning Nigeria in the comity of nations. We can build a resilient economy with the tourism potentials. Adequate measures should be taken for the protection of entire tourism and national monuments across the country. Man-made tourism should also be created to attract investments.”
According to Akpabio, the Federal Government can do more to boost tourism in order to create more jobs, generate more revenue, alleviate poverty, boost foreign exchange earnings and attract investors.
He added that Nigeria would reap more dividends if tourism could be made to contribute more than 12 per cent to the annual GDP.
The group managing director, also noted that Nigeria had tourist potentials which other countries lacked, and could be utilized to raise its revenue and create massive employment.
“Nigeria’s music and film industry is a huge potential that could be harnessed and turned into a tourist attraction. These sectors alone can be developed and turned into huge money spinning for the country, “Akpabio said.
According to him, other recommendations for national tourism development includes; establishing a tourism bank and promoting religious, education, architectural, aquatic, and agro-tourism endorsement.
Akpabio, however, appealed to the federal government to appoint the right people in governance, adding that it would help for economy growth. “If the right people are not appointed in the right position, it will bring a set-back to the economy, “ he concluded.