The director general, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker, has stated that experiences in past demonstrated that oil and mineral resources are non –renewable and have very little potential for addressing the development challenges that face Nigeria.
Coker made this known to journalists at the 4thedition of Nigeria Tourism Investors forum and Exhibition (NTIFE), with the theme: Infrastructure & security: catalysts for sustainable tourism development in Abuja.
According to the NTDC Boss, the critical source of economic growth and development in many countries is the tourism sector, which has the potentials if properly harnessed to become a major revenue earner for Nigeria.
He said, “I am very unhappy about the fact that we always constantly have insecurity and infrastructure as a problem in Nigeria. Can you think of how many other African countries have far less infrastructure and worse security than Nigeria, but people still go there. Take for example, America. Individuals are going into schools with automatic weapons and killing women, children, old, young, that is very insecure, but I don’t hear anybody saying America has a security problem and therefore we should stop going to America. I think we need to understand that in order to develop our own country, our own infrastructure, we need to first of all appreciate what we have and build on it. Secondly, you cannot compare the security of today in Nigeria to four years ago.
It’s different, it’s better. I’m not saying that the security is where we want it be, but it has improved greatly. Every penny the government spends on infrastructure for the life of a Nigerian, benefits a tourist”.
Earlier, the president, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Saleh Rabo, affirmed that Nigeria is a mini Africa in touristic sense with over 300 ethnic groups. Stating that no other country in Africa can boast of Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity.
Rabo said, “We can create desirable cultural tourist products from our cultures, aside from Nollywood, our performing arts and fashion design have been making raves all over the world. Culture is our God-given tourism comparative advantage”.
Speaking on the theme of the event, Rabo stated that, the theme is tailored to elevate the discourse and proffer actionable solutions to, arguably, the two debilitating challenges to the emergence of a sustainable tourism industry in Nigeria.