MINISTER of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, has called on tourism stakeholders in the country to put their hands on deck and move the industry to the next level.
Alhaji Muhammed made the call in his address at the public presentation of the book titled, “Redefining Tourism in Nigeria: The Real Issues and Challenges Vol. 1-3” at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
The Minister, represented by the Director-General of the National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, explained that, “This effort must be collective and should attract the best of Public-Private Partnership.”
He added that Nigeria has strong comparative advantages in the Hospitality and Tourism industry because of its diverse cultures and heritage that are all disposed to what, according to him, is commonly referred to as the Nigerian hospitality.
“This great nation is indeed blessed with abundant natural and cultural resources that are well blended for tourists’ delight and might I add, a strong emphasis on domestic tourism. It is against this background that the Federal Government is committed to repositioning tourism as one of the levers for economic growth and development in the country,” Lai Muhammed said.
Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, earlier in her speech emphasized her commitment to ensuring that the Nigerian youth embraces tourism.
This, according to her, informed the efforts of the Corporation to promote youth tourism.
She explained that “I have always been a crusader of youth tourism, even before I became the Acting DG. And now, the efforts have been geared up as the Corporation under my administration is committed to heightening the interest of the youth in tourism, making them appreciate the inherent rewards of the money-spinning sector.”
Rae-Omoh, who disclosed that the book will educate the young generation on the importance of tourism, noted that the tourism book as long overdue.
The Amanyabo of Brass Kingdom, Co-Chair Pan Niger Delta Forum (PNDF), His Royal Majesty King Alfred Diete-Spiff, OFR, in his opening speech lauded the efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration at reviving the nation’s economy.
King Diete-Spiff, who commended the authors of the book, Mr. Ogbonnaya Okoronkwo and Mr. Nwakwo Raphael, said the book has the potentialities of unlocking the destiny of the nation, adding that tourism transgresses all aspects of economy.
He emphasised that no part of the country is not blessed with one form of tourism or the other, adding that the book would enable the upcoming generation to explore tourism for the progress of the nation.
The tourism book is centered on changing the perception of Nigerian people on the place of tourism to the overall national development objective.