The Federal government has described the tourism sector as one of the key sectors for employment generation, poverty alleviation and sustainable human development worldwide.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed revealed this in Abuja during the 2016 Nigerian Tourism Investment Forum And Exhibition (NTIFE) organised by FTAN in collaboration with NTDC.
Presenting a paper entitled: “Tourism: A Tool for Economic Recovery and Development,” The Minister stressed that tourism is a global trend that should be enacted in the Nigerian experience, particularly now that the price of the oil, the fulcrum of which the nation’s economy rotates, has crashed, with a debilitating impact on the nation.
Alhaji Mohammed said that as a labour intensive industry, tourism has the potential to create more jobs per unit of investment than most other industries.
‘’The Sector also has the potential to be a sustainable engine for economic growth and diversification. It is a major asset to Nigeria’s quest to become one of the twenty largest economies in the world by year 2020, which is barely four years from now. Therefore, there is need for urgency, if the country is to realize its vision.
‘’There are two key initiatives as a mark of political will on the side of the government to lift the creative industries, the first is the initiative to grow the tourism industry through improved security and a strong value proposition that include improved security to encourage domestic and international mobility.
“The review of existing tourism legislation to eliminate overlapping functions among agencies
Regulating the industry, the strengthening of the NTDC through better funding and capacity building, the promotion of a national calendar of festivals and the launch of an awareness campaign within and outside Nigeria and promotion of the building of world class hotels and conference centers. The Minister added that ‘’The second initiative is the need to support the creative industries as a whole.
This involves encouraging the development of a special funding window for the industry, provision of incentives for private sector investment in the sector and the strengthening of intellectual property rights regime to make the protection of the intellectual property of Nigerian artists a matter of priority,’’ he said.
The Minister noted that although the tourism industry is in its infancy stage in Nigeria, the potentials are immense and give cause for high expectations in the future, particularly when well harnessed.