FG seeks media support in promoting tourism

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has appealed to journalists to collaborate with the Federal Government in its efforts at repositioning the tourism sector.

Speaking at a news conference in Lagos on Friday, the minister urged the media to report Nigeria positively in order to attract the much-needed tourists to the country.

Mohammed said the constant portrayal of Nigeria in bad light in the local media was undermining tourism development as no one would like to visit a country perceived to be in crisis.

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I urge the media professionals to play their own part in the promotion of the country`s tourism potential.

For now, the media is not doing enough to paint the correct picture of the country.

Nigeria is not at war: It is the way we paint and present the country that determines the number of people that come to visit.

There are so many positive things about Nigeria that are under-reported, for example, the country has one of the most thriving religious tourism in the world, but this is under-reported.

We need the media to focus more on those things that promote the country for tourism development,’’ he said.

The minister also stated that it was important for states and the private sector to collaborate with Federal Government on tourism development across the country through the provision of the right local infrastructure.

He commended Lagos, Cross River and Kano governments for their efforts at developing tourism in their respective states.

The Federal Government, he said, would continue to strengthen security and provide the enabling environment for the growth of the sector.

Mohammed said government was developing multi-sectoral and robust policies on tourism development, adding that and a Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) had been saddled with the co-ordination of the policies for the growth of the sector.

He cited the provision of access roads to tourism sites, the upgrade of airports infrastructure and promotion of public health among plans to develop the sector.

The minister said government would also take steps to promote domestic tourism as a pedestal to encourage international tourists to visit the country.

He said the strategy had been successfully used in countries like China, pointing out that foreign visitors were better attracted through the development of local tourism.

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