The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has called on Nigerians to look at Tourism as a viable alternative to oil, in the country’s bid to diversify the economy, arguing that oil is exhaustible, unlike tourism, which is inexhaustible.
Duke, who stated this in a paper he presented at the 9th All Nigerian Editors Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), at the Asaba Convention Centre, Okpanam Road, Asaba, Delta State, on Friday, 23 August, 2013, noted that oil had brought Nigeria immense wealth and still remains the major source of revenue, but unfortunately, the oil wealth had only shifted the country’s focus from agriculture and other natural resources. Represented by the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Duke posited that the Travel and Tourism industry had remained resilient in recent years, despite the uncertain global economic conditions, which had been characterized by fragile economic growth, macro-economic tensions, and high unemployment, adding that Travel and Tourism had continued to be a critical sector for economic development and for sustaining employment in both advanced and developing economies.
On the initiatives by the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation to reposition the sector, he enumerated implementation of the National Tourism Master Plan; launching of Nigeria’s tourism brand identity, “Fascinating Nigeria;” documentation and upgrade of Nigeria’s sprawling tourism assets; discovery of 100 Heritage Sites, which can be used as tourist sites; collaboration with State Governments for joint development of tourist sites in their states; planned development of multi-purpose Parks and Monuments in the six geo-political zones of the country; and manpower development, as some of the deliberate efforts.
Duke thus charged the editors to contribute their quota towards promoting tourism in Nigeria by generating story ideas on tourism, giving greater prominence to reports on tourism, highlighting efforts and achievements in tourism development, engaging in critical analysis of the sector on a regular basis and making appropriate recommendations and suggestions, and helping in projecting tourism as a viable alternative to oil.
The Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Imoukhuede and the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, also presented papers at the conference, which had veteran journalist and former Executive Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, as chairman, the Executive Governor of Delta, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, as chief host, and the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Femi Adesina, as host.
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