• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Media confab draws attention to tourism as alternative revenue source


Media practitioners with special focus on brands and marketing last weekend assessed the contribution of tourism to national development, with speakers driving the point that this was the time for Nigeria to look beyond crude oil as a major source of revenue.

The speakers, who included the CEO of Insight Communications, Jimi Awosika; president of Guild of Editors, Femi Adesina; president of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Rotimi Oladele, and Sunday Atere, commissioner of information, Osun State, referred to global economic crisis and its effect on oil price, which is affecting Nigeria, and said Nigeria must de-emphasise revenue on oil and develop other streams of income to hedge against external shocks.

The forum was the second annual brand and marketing conference on ‘Tourism marketing as catalyst for economic development’ organised by Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria in Osogbo, Osun State

In his contribution, Atere said “there seems to be no better time than now when all of us in Nigeria will have to look beyond oil, especially with the unpredictability starring the world economy at the face. Narrowing on getting alternative income through tourism might be a solution as some countries today rely solely on this sector as the bedrock of their economic survival.”

He called on journalists to continue to draw government attention to the diversification of the economy, saying the role of the media in developing country like Nigeria was crucial and “this is why journalism as a profession occupies the front burner in the scheme of things in the country. In the same vein, your job as professionals in presenting unbiased, untainted and accurate reportage should also be seen not to be compromised.”

President of NIPR, Rotimi Oladele, represented by his special assistant on media, Grace Achum, who recognised tourism as optimistic sector that will propel Nigeria said “there is no other force to drive tourism as major revenue earner than the media. As partners in the economic development drive, I encourage you to try more and the best will be the result.”

For many years, according to Femi Adesina, Nigerians have spoken much on the economic diversification but all resolutions end up in shelves, saying with dwindling international oil prices, the days of reckoning had come.

Adesina said tourism should be a veritable alternative to oil, citing countries like Israel, Australia and UAE, which had no natural resources but had survived on tourism. According to him, Australia alone makes about $7.6 billion on tourism annually. But in Nigeria, he said the potential lie fallow.

He warned that “Nigeria cannot continually depend on oil, otherwise the country will be declared a solvent nation soon,” saying that all hands must be on deck to ensure that tourism became a major revenue earner for the country.

To make tourism a major economic earner, he advised government to formulate national strategy to reposition Nigeria as tourism destination, and called on government to ensure security, adequate infrastructure, health and political stability as necessary factor that will drive tourism.

Jimi Awosika, represented by Sam Osunsoko, associate director at Insight, who looked at promotion of tourism from multi-dimensional media perspective, said traditional advertising cannot effectively position tourism or any brand.

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Citing Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Jimi said though a country could have natural resources, but there was nothing wrong in diversifying the economy, saying ‘’Kenya earns about $900 million a year from tourism with coffee still the highest earner.’’

He said in branding, differentiation was very significant in destination branding.  In his speech earlier, the president of Brand writers, Goddie Ofose, said ‘’as nation drives FDIs, the capital must find leisure to work effectively as those who invest in the economy assess the economy in all ramifications before investing.’’

He said without destination branding, branding a nation would be difficult, as the responsibility of brand journalists was to identify those niches that would promote the country and highlight them and constructively criticise impediments to national branding.

Daniel Obi