Golf tourism can drive Nigeria’s economy, says Muyiwa Salami
The country’s quest to become one of the world’s major tourism destinations could be actualised if government paid adequate attention to golf and other sports development, says Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) official, Muyiwa Salami.
Salami, who said that sports and tourism could boost the nation’s internally generated revenue if the leadership of both sectors teamed up in promoting the country’s interests, tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure a healthy relationship between sports federations and the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
This, he said, would save the dying Nigerian tourism sector. The DVINE Travels and Tour managing director, who doubles as South West NATOP chairman, added that two sectors could generate close to the revenue the country is currently realising from oil. “It seems that government always uses the office of sports minister to pacify the aggrieved political class with the result being that square pegs are pot in round hole.
This has been the major factor retarding the growth of Nigerian sports and tourism. “Tourism in Nigeria is supposed to be a high revenue earner if well harnessed; the same thing with sports. But the bodies saddled with responsibilities of managing these sectors are not doing enough.
They don’t conceptualize any new event that would draw foreigners into the country like many other African countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda are doing and earning great revenues from it.
What tourism and sports bring are direct monies which have immediate impact on the economy,” he noted. Salami, who revealed that he plays “golf and table tennis at my leisure times and I am an active member of Ibadan Golf Club,” added, “I know the kind of impediment facing the sport and Nigerian tourism. “None of our tourist sites or any national packs are working. The managers just pay lip services.”
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