Olota of Otta, Otunba Akinboboye, Olowo, others task Nigeria govt on tourism

Stakeholders and operators of Nigerian tourism sector have charged government at all levels in the country to focus more on tourism in order to achieve accelerated development of the country as the oil wealth is fast dwindling.

The call was made by them yesterday in Lagos during tourism seminar organised by the Association of Nigerian Journalist and Writers of Tourism (ANJET). The Olota of Otta, Ogun State, who was the royal father of the day, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, took the lead in making the call when he urged the government and Nigerians to explore tourism potential for job creation.

The theme of the seminar is : “Tourism and Jobs: Better future for all”. This is in commemoration of this year’s United Nation’s world Tourism day celebration which focused on job creation in the tourism sector.

Obalanlege said that Nigerians must stop depending on the government for job creation but get creative to groom most of the enormous tourism potential the country is endowed with.

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 masquerade festival has one of the tourism potential to explore, likewise the monumental buildings across communities which could be converted to tourists sites. He  said the second story building in Nigeria is in Ota, while the third story building is in Abeokuta

” 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 tap into 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, government is only meant to create the 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 providing 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.

Also speaking, the President of La Campagne Trooicana Beach Resort in Lagod, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, declared that the power of tourism sector in transforming a community, people and the country, ia such that it cant be neglected and doibg so over the years has not augur well for Nigeria and the peiple.

He gave example if how, he, through La Campagne has succeeded in transfoeming Ikegun community where his resort ia based to one of the richest and fast developibg locality in Nigeria, describing how he has economically empowered the people and transformed their lives and the community.

He recommended such a model to the Nigeria government and Nigerians, urging everyone to local inward and see where tgey have comparative advantage and latch on to it for the development of the people.

Mr Victor Edosomwan, Managing Director, Vicwan Limited encouraged Nigerians to engage in critical thinking to ensure the tourism industry is improved to create jobs for the youths.

He urged Nigerian tour Operators to collaborate with international ones in order to woo more international tourists into the country.

Mr Ladi Jemi-Alade said that Nigerians remained poor due to ignorance as most people lacked comprehension on areas to explore for wealth creation.

He said Nigeira had all it takes to make tourism businesses thrive but the youths lacked the necessary information to explore the industry.

” If Dubai can be doing exploits in tourism, as a city on a desert, Nigeria can do far better with all our endowments.

” As a country, we do not appreciate what we have, we have to look inwards to develop our tourism industry; the youths should be ready to learn and explore.

” We have lots of endowments in the tourism sector but we as a people believe so much that made in America is better than made in Nigeria.

” We can’t get there if we don’t change our narrative and start developing our own tourism potentials to help us to create wealth because tourism is a business and not a social Affairs,” he said.

Mr Wanle Akinboboye, Founder, La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort urged the Nigerian government to encourage MDAs to ensure their bonding exercises like conferences, retreats and seminars hold in Nigerian tourism facilities.

He said this would give room for proper marketing of nation’s tourists sites.

Akinboboye suggested that government should consider the importation of solar/ wind power equipment at a zero customs duty rate and provide tax breaks to rural facilities that use such power sources.

He said this was necessary to minimize the effect of nation’s electricity challenges to enable tourism businesses to thrive.

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