Concern for Nigeria poor ranking in tourism
As Kogi State Ministry of Culture and Tourism celebrates the World Tourism Day, Kogi State Director of Tourism Dr. S. Jerry Agbaje has decried the retrogressive place of Nigeria in tourism in African ranking for which it could not book a place among the top ten African destinations.
Agbaje who stated this in a paper he presented with the title ‘Tourists’ gas Propeller of socio-economic and political growth’ to mark the day’ asked the Nigerian government and all stakeholders in the tourism sector to wake up from their slumber.
In his words: “It is a sad commentary that Nigeria the giant of Africa, with her vast tourism resources, enormous oil wealth iced with a lot of skilled human resources could not book a place in the Africa tourism arrivals ranking.”
He said that tourism being a multi-billion Naira spinning industry, the country has no option but to deploy it’s strategies to make the industry another revenue earner that could up the ante in our foreign exchange earnings.
The director listed some encumbrances that Nigeria must address for it to take its rightful position as a top tourist destination to include putting in place a strong regulatory framework as well as a master plan that should be fully implemented.
He also harped on the necessity for provision of basic infrastructures such as roads, electricity, water supply, and telecommunications facilities especially in centre of attraction points.
Agbaje asked Nigerian authorities to strengthen the institutional capacity at national, regional and sub regional levels and put in place tourism development strategies.
Other hindrances to tourism that must be addressed he said were the standardisation of tourism facilities and services and having in place friendly security agents.
The director also admonished that tax holiday and conducive tax regime should be made possible as well as maintaining fairly steady exchange rate to enable tourists plan their travel budget in advance.
Governor Idris Wada of the State who spoke through his secretary Professor Olugbemiro Jegede said that his government having realised the key role of tourism in economic growth and sustainable development he has devoted tremendous support for the sector in the state.
“We have recently renovated/restored some historical monuments in the state. These include the Royal Niger spot: The entrance gate to Mount Patti and the Lord Lugard Rest House on Mount Patti and more of the monuments are being processed for rehabilitation.”
In the hospitality industry Governor Wada said that he had awarded contract for the remodelling of the Confluence Beach Hotel, while works on Kogi State Hotels had reached advanced stage.
According to him: “Sequel to the determination of my administration to reposition culture and tourism, Kogi State had continued to win laurels at the Abuja National Carnival, coming 2nd and 3rd overall best for 2013 and 2014 editions respectively.”
He said that the state had also successfully organised
its own carnival tagged ‘Confluence v carnival.’ in 2013 and 2014.