By Louis Ibah
Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has advocated more investments to unlock the full potential of the country’s tourism for enhance economic prosperity.
Obasanjo stated this yesterday in Lagos while addressing the 41st session of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) as special guest of honour.
Speaking on the theme of the AGM, “Tourism in a Recessed Economy,” the former president described tourism as a catalyst for growing any economy in contemporary times and said that if properly harnessed can take the country out of its present economic recession. He said for a country as blessed as Nigeria, its nationals and government have no reason to look elsewhere for economic growth.
“We need to pay attention to tourism. People are still traveling everywhere and that shows that with tourism, there will be nothing like recession in Nigeria,” said Obasanjo. “We should even pay more attention to domestic tourism. Nigerians don’t travel much within the country and it is something we need to embrace. Domestic tourism can generate a lot of revenue for the country,” he added.
Obasanjo whose speech was read on his behalf by the President of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Bernard, said he was working hard to turn Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, into a major tourist site.
The former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAC), Dr. Harold Demuren, who was the keynote speaker, said with tourism, Nigeria can banish recession. He charged travel agents to look inward and focus their attention on marketing the many tourist attractions in the country that need to be explored by the people.
Also sharing his experience on opportunities in the aviation and tourism sectors, the Managing Director of Medview Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said recession offers the best opportunity for the country and people to diversify their sources of revenue as he urged travel agents to be more creative and innovative as there are a lot of business opportunities in the aviation and tourism markets to explore.