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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Oil stunted tourism growth in Nigeria - Anyaoku

 Oil stunted tourism growth in Nigeria - Anyaoku
Written by Wale Ojo-Lanre Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00
Nigerian Tribune 
THE undue concentration on the oil sector has been described as a curse and impediment to the sprouting and germination of the tourism economy in Nigeria.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General , Commonwealth, made this observation at the Grand Hotel, Asaba last week Wednesday during the launching of “Tourism in Nigeria: The incredible journey into the heart of nature,” a book written by Mrs Fidelia Salami.
Chief Anyaoku, who was the chairperson of the event, lamented that despite the fact that Nigeria is blessed abundantly with all manners of tourism potentialities, it is sad that the sector has not been able to gain the necessary attention from the government .
He pointed out that successive government in the country had turned the luck of having oil within our shores into a curse rather than a blessing.
Chief Anyaoku said that there was nothing wrong in the government paying more attention to, and developing fully, the oil sector. Rather, it is a sin for the government to have refused to utilise the proceeds from oil in developing other sectors of the economy.
With oil in our backyard spinning the money, Chief Anyaoku believes that the money should have been expended on alternatives revenue sources, importantly the tourism sector which stokes the economy every second.
Chief Anyaoku described tourism as an inestimable economic asset waiting to be tapped for benefit of the people of Nigeria. He commended Mrs Salami for documenting some of the pristine and wonderful tourism assets of Nigeria in a breakfast book which will go a long way in emphasising the point and reminding whoever that comes across it about the Nigerian tourism potentialities.
Chief Anyaoku said the book , Tourism in Nigeria, is one of the best documents he had seen and read, which informed his writing a pre-publication commendation in the book. He also recommended the book to everyone who wants to have a deal with tourism in Nigeria.
He described the book as “a brilliant bird’s- eye view of the rich tapestry of the culture and traditional occupations of a significant number of Nigeria’s people . It is, in the main, a carefully researched catalogue of the country’s major tourist attractions. The book is a must read not only by those wishing to visit and witness the captivating diversity of Nigeria, but also by Nigerians themselves who are interested in knowing the tourist sites and rich cultural traditions of their country. “
Chief Anyaoku called for the publication of more books and intellectual work on tourism by practitioners, students, planners and administrators so as to ingrain the tourism consciousness in the consciousness of the people.
Revealing what prompted her writing the book, Mrs Salami said “I want to achieve two broad objectives with the publication of this book. First, to showcase Nigeria to Nigerians that we have all it takes in joining other countries in becoming a big player in the global tourism business and in also telling the government that this sector can conveniently serve as alternative source or main source of revenue for the country . And most importantly, to show the cultural and historical linkages between the various ethnic groups to stimulate cultural understanding, appreciation and unity.
“Secondly, to tell and open the vastness of our attractions to the rest of the world as many people outside there never believed that Nigeria is blessed awesomely by God with wonderful tourism assets and sites. Having travelled so well over the world , I have not seen too many countries that have all its zones from West to East North to South so freely blessed with natural attractions, historical sites and monuments, rich flora and fauna , cultural heritage, sun and sea. I believe that all these need proper packaging and documentation which can stimulate investors’ interest and attract tourists.
And to God be the glory, here we are launching the book.”
Mrs Salami disclosed that “ It took 12 years of intensive research and travelling to most of the sites mentioned in the book for a firsthand experience and information gathering . What you have in there is a complete reality of what I encountered which I am recommending to others so as to be able to evaluate and appreciate the enormous tourism potentialities in Nigeria.Though the book tasked my resources , comfort and patience , I give glory to God for being able to christen it today .“
“And I am happy to have published a book which provides objective information on Nigeria and the reality of its tourism growth, its national policies and recent development and growth. It is also a valuable resource and comprehensive guide for the education and entertainment of students, teachers, tourists and investors.
I am happy to have produced a tourism encyclopaedia about a nation poised to take its destiny in its hand.“
Reviewing the book, Mr Tayo Adelaja , who represented the President Guild of Tourism Journalists in Nigeria , Comrade Wale Ojo Lanre, described the book as “a painstakingly researched Nigeria tourism document which does not only bring out the hidden tourism potentialities of the nation, but supplies copious information and materials needed by investors, tourists and stakeholders who need such about Nigerian tourism. It a book which every tourism-minded fellow must have.