Monarch, other stakeholders task government on tourism
Stakeholders in Nigerian tourism sector have charged government at all levels to focus more on tourism for accelerated development of the country, as the oil wealth dwindles.
The call was made yesterday in Lagos during a tourism seminar themed ‘Tourism and Jobs: Better Future for All’, organised by the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET).
The Olota of Ota, Ogun State, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, who was the Royal Father of the Day, set the ball rolling when he urged the government and Nigerians to explore the country’s tourism potential for job creation.
Obalanlege urged Nigerians to stop depending on the government for job creation, but get creative and exploit the country’s enormous tourism potential.
He said that festivals in each community could be developed by members of such community to generate revenue while ensuring that the festivals were developed over the years to attract local and international tourists.
The monarch identified the egungun (masquerade) festival as one of the tourism potential to latch upon, likewise the monumental buildings across communities.
“With the huge tourism potential we are blessed with in the country, we should not be complaining about jobs.
“The egungun festival is an opportunity to latch on to by the unemployed. Different communities have their masquerades, which should be developed and showcased to the world.
“Nigerians need not look up to the government for job creation, as government is only meant to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Sabre Network, West Africa, Dr. Gbenga Olowo, had urged government to take the tourism industry seriously through sufficient budgetary allocation.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Western Zone, Mr. Mayowa Badewa, the MD said that the tourism industry must be prioritised, as huge employment opportunities could be derived from the sector.
Other African countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Gambia, he added, were doing well in tourism because they had been able to work on connectivity, infrastructure, visa relaxation policy and more.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to collaborate with the private sector, intensify efforts in fighting terrorism, create policy for ease of doing business, as well as build good roads for tourism businesses to thrive in the country.
“We are known as 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 right.
“Government should try to allocate huge revenue to the tourism industry annually because the returns will be in multiples at the end of the day,” he added.