The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), who is also a Visiting Associate Professor to Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has described tourism as the centre of attraction of man to everything in the world.
Ayakoroma, who made this assertion on Sunday, 27th September, at the 2015 World Tourism Day celebration held at the Nike Lake Resort, Enugu, identified tourism as something man cannot do without in his quest for interaction and movement from one place to another, saying through this human activity, there is exchange of knowledge and better understanding between and among individuals.
The cultural doyen enjoined policy makers to encourage local tourism which will enhance the great potentials for international tourism for Nigeria’s economic growth, stressing the need to maintain and preserve our rich cultural festivals, which tell whom we are and reflect the natural aesthetics and creativity of man.
In her goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele said the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities,” shows the benefits abound in the tourism industry in Nigeria if it is properly harnessed, adding that the country can make up to 30% of its GDP through tourisms.
According to Mrs. Ejele, tourism is everybody’s affair because it unites communities and revolves around us, and that when these avenues are explored, it creates a source of livelihood to people and builds a bridge of peace between diverse cultures, which is an instrument of sustainable national development.
In his contribution, the Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Chief Ferdinand Anikwe lamented the long neglect of several tourist sites, which encapsulate the philosophy of the people, and called on the States and Federal governments to do more in the revival of our rich heritage sites and festivals to attract foreign income and recognitions.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo noted that tourism has a value chain that revolves around all activities of man, saying that tourism is the greatest employer of labour all over the world, if properly utilized.
She countered the argument that security challenges in Nigeria are antithetical to the development of tourism, arguing that nations like Israel, Egypt and South Africa have the same security issues yet they are succeeding through tourism guides.
On his part, the Enugu State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Barr. Chika Smart Ogbe described tourism as the greatest earner of GDP that has survived through arts and craft, hospitality and direct foreign investment.
The occasion was spiced by students from Queen’s School, Enugu and College of Immaculate Conception (CIC) that entertained the guests; this is just as the programme featured a guided tour of some tourist sites in Enugu State led by the Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism.
NICO Enugu State Office