• Friday, May 24, 2024
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How preservation of relics can grow Nigeria’s tourism, travel – Minister

How preservation of relics can grow Nigeria’s tourism, travel – Minister

The preservation of colonial and indigenous relics has been identified as one of the major ways to grow tourism and travel.

Speaking at the 10th Wonders of Nigeria Expo held in Lagos over the weekend, Lola Ade-John, Minister of Tourism, lamented that Nigeria had failed to preserve the relics of the past, which would have attracted tourists to the country and increase its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that while Nigeria had several attractive tourist sites, the country had failed to promote and highlight them.

According to her, unlike Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with artificial tourist sites, Nigeria had natural tourist sites that could gainfully employ and empower hundreds of local people.

Ade-John, however, said that the Federal Government was willing to support growth in the sector by setting the standards, partnering with local and state governments and also wooing foreign and local investors into the sector.

She also canvassed for collaboration among tourism ambassadors and stakeholders to propel growth, reiterating that despite the security challenges, Nigeria was still attractive to tourists.

The minister further regretted that most states of the federation were yet to develop their tourist sites, stressing that the Ekiti State Government for instance had only promoted 5 per cent of its Ikogosi Resort.

She said: “I am actually searching for foreign investors for our tourism industry. The Federal Government is willing to support the industry by setting standards, ensure that we resuscitate the Nigerian tourism potential, engage the tourism industry at local and state government levels and most importantly, stakeholders and work with some private investors.

“Though, we have security challenges, with the engagement of the local authorities and the communities, we can overcome them. We have not got the support we need to showcase all the tourism sites that we have, but I can assure you that those things are going to change by the grace of God. I will do this by whatever it takes for me to achieve it.

“The Ministry of Tourism has to come in and ensure that some of these sites and relics are properly preserved for our children and ground children. We need to empower and encourage people to promote our tourism sites. Everybody needs to be engaged.”

This is as Dayo Adedayo, a renowned photographer said that the prevention of tourists from viewing Aso Rock site in Abuja by the Federal Government is costing about N100 billion annual loss to the country.

Also, Dayo Adedayo, a renowned photographer has said that Nigeria was losing about N100 billion annually from disallowing tourists to view Aso Rock site in the centre of Abuja.

Adedayo lamented that the condoning of the entire site by Brigade of Guard was a sore loss to Nigeria and appealed to the government to reverse the decision.

He also challenged stakeholders in the sector to look inward in a bid to increase tourism contribution and revenue generation into the country.

Earlier, Ikechi Uko, the Convener of the two days 10th Wonders of Nigeria Expo in his welcome address, said that it was necessary to create experts in the tourism sector.

According to him, the event was held in Lagos for the first time in order to promote the tourist sites in the state, stressing that most residents of Lagos don’t know the existence of the National Museum at Onikan.

Uko maintained that tourism could be promoted through two major basics; story-telling and photography.