Stakeholders in the Nigeria tourism sector on Friday called on the Federal Government to harness enormous potential in the industry to develop the nation’s economy.
The stakeholders spoke in commemoration of the World Tourism Day designed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) since 1980.
The 2019 theme is: “Tourism and Jobs: a Better Future for All”.
A veteran Fuji musician, Adewale Ayuba, said that government should exploit the nation’s tourism potential in cuisine, music, clothing and other areas to create employment opportunities for youths.
According to Ayuba, proper projection of these potential will improve cultural exchange programmes among African countries, thereby putting Nigeria on the world tourism map.
He said that government ought to create platforms which would enable musicians across different genres of music such as the Fuji, Waka and juju to showcase their talents to the world.
“We can tag it ‘Nigeria Indigenous Music Festival’ and it can be promoted to attract tourists across the globe.
“I advise that we celebrate our music that are indigenous to us, create platforms where Fuji, juju, Afro beat, Waka and Apala and more can be promoted.
“I urge the embassies to promote our culture and music. This will help us to improve,’’ the Fuji musicians said.
He, however, expressed regret that Nollywood artistes who had invested a lot were not reaping enough from their hard work.
“We can see most of our actors who had entertained us later soliciting for help when they are sick, this is bad.
“Government must create functional royalties to compensate them for their contributions toward the growth of the entertainment industry,” Ayuba said.
Also, Mrs Ebele Enemchukwu, a former Miss Tourism United Nations, said the industry could be a huge money spinner for the nation, if well harnessed.
Enemchukwu urged government at all levels to collaborate more with the private investors to ensure that the industry generate enough job opportunities for the citizens.
According to her, the benefits of tourism are enormous, if government will endeavour to boost and sustain the industry.
She said that all Nigerians have roles to play in the promotion of tourism by visiting and spending holidays in leisure sites because they have better attraction.
“Nigerians should cultivate habit of visiting nation’s tourist attractions, share beautiful pictures, videos, articles that captures our rich green land and warm people.
“I urge individual tourism practitioners to keep the fire burning, giving up is not an option and as far as tourism is concerned, posterity will remember you all for the good reasons,’’ she said.
Enemchukwu recalled that when she won the Mrs Tourism United Nations World, she publicly pledged to use the platform as Tourism Queen to give Nigeria the needed promotion and visibility.
“My reign ended two years ago, but that promise still stands and is still being fulfilled. I have contributed in many capacities to the industry.
“There is more to Nigeria than Boko Haram, to political instability or all the negative reports that have gained publicity, locally and internationally,” she said.
Commenting, Mrs Nike Okundaye, Managing Director, Nike Arts Gallery, also told that government should intensify efforts in solving problems of insecurity, inadequate infrastructure facilities and power outage.
Okundaye said these problems had hindered the growth of the tourism industry over the years.
She said the industry was majorly driven by the private investors who needed to enjoy the support of government.
Okundaye said also that government support would make tourism business to thrive, generate employment opportunities for youths and boost the nation’s economy.
Edited by Chinyere Bassey/Olagoke Olatoye
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