L-R: President, LA Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye; The Olota of Otta Kingdom, Ogun State, Oba Prof. Adeyemi Obalanlege; President, Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET), Andrew Iro Okungbowa, and former President, ANJET, Tope Ogbeni Awe at the annual tourism seminar 2019 “Tourism and Jobs: Better future for all” in Lagos…yesterday
Stakeholders and operators of Nigerian tourism sector have charged government at all levels in the country to focus more on the tourism in order to achieve accelerated development of the country as the oil wealthier fast dwindling.
He said that 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 masqurade festival, as one of the tourism potential to latch 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 potential.
“The Egungun festival is an opportunity to latch on by the unemployed, different communities have their masqurade which should be developed and showcased to the world.
“Nigerians need not look up to the government for job creation, government is only meant to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“The second tallest story building in Nigeria is in Otta, it should be better developed to attract international tourists; a lot more monumental buildings across communities can also be converted to tourists sites”, he said.
Earlier, Dr Gbenga Olowo, Managing Director, Sabre Network, West Africa, urged 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 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, Unted 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.