A Professor of Theatre and Performing Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Samuel Ayedime Kafewo, has said the problem of underperformance or non-performance of culture in Nigeria and indeed what limits its economic potentials, is government policy.
Professor Kafewo made this known while delivering a paper, titled, “Cultural Sites and Heritage Management,” at the 3-Day Workshop on, “Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity,” packaged for staffers of the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, by the Institute on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at the Global Village Suites, Koroduma, Abuja-Keffi Express Way, Nasarawa State.
According to the university don, although Nigerian cultural sites and heritages have great potentials of becoming the moving image-bearers for the nation, lack of recreation culture by a greater percentage of Nigerians is limiting the satisfaction of modern tourists despite Nigeria’s endowment with both natural and man-made tourist resources.
He said tourism can become “a veritable source of economic benefit for the people. It can keep people directly engaged by way of employment, acting as tour guides, souvenir makers, making and marketers of cultural emblems. It can also provide side economic powers to people who will sell foods and drinks to tourists and other cultural workers. The hotel and hospitality industries will boom and government will derive direct revenue from all these sources and many more.”
Kafewo, who called for the sustainable development of the nation’s tourism sector through the provision of supporting and essential infrastructure that are lacking as a way of collectively, enhancing the experience of potential tourists, regretted the fact that the Nigeria nation, with her rich natural resources, is yet to capitalize on tourism for effective and sustainable development, noting that efforts are geared towards lopsided development and huge revenue from oil exports at the expense of other equally vital sectors of the economy with huge potentials.
“It is clear that sectors such as tourism can contribute significantly to economic growth and development, thus, the need for Nigeria to develop its tourism sector is overwhelming, given its need to diversify its economy from crude oil exploration and exports, and above all, seize on the labour intensive advantages offered by the tourism sector for employment and income generation,” he said.
Highlighting some of the challenges militating against the growth and development of a sustainable tourism sector in Nigeria to include; lack of knowledge and awareness, technical know-how and weak promotion activity, tourism-related infrastructures, tourism investments, tourism strategies and policies, tourism diversification and tourism safety, among others, Kafewo stressed that Nigeria’s domestic tourism is at this deplorable state because policy-makers have not geared attention towards the recreation and development of the tourism sector.
He recommended that there should be conscious attempts by policy-makers in Nigeria towards implementing the Tourism Master Plan, which addresses vital issues that in the end, will better equip the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism to develop and manage the tourism industry so as to enhance its economic benefits through sustainable, people-oriented development policies to all parts of the country.