By Babatunde Jimoh
Mr Ini Akpabio, the Group Managing Director, NANET Hotel and Suites, has called on the Federal Government to periodically host international tourism conferences to boost influx of tourists into the country.
Akpabio, who disclosed this in Lagos during the week, said that such programmes would afford local and foreign tourists to meet themselves, exchange ideas, promote domestic tourism products and destinations.
“Many countries have developed their tourism sectors through periodic hosting of international events.
“ Nigeria can also key into such development by hosting international conferences and events to boost influx of tourists,“ he said.
Akpabio said the United Kingdom has continued to benefit from the World Travel Market; Germany from the World Tourism Exhibitions usually held in Berlin, Global Hospitality Conference in Hong Kong and International Joint World Culture Tourism Conference in Indian.
He said that if Nigeria could also follow such strides, it would help to boost her foreign exchange earnings, Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Nigeria as host community to such conferences will earn billions of naira from several tourists that will fly into the country, eat Nigeria cuisine, lodge in Nigerian hotels, fly airline and also patronise Made-in-Nigeria goods, “ he said.
He said that the hoteliers, commercial drivers, tour operators, airlines, tour guides,eateries and host communities would benefit from such international conferences.
Akpabio urged the government to learn from other countries the strategies they were using to develop their tourism sectors because Nigeria has more than enough tourism products/destinations to offer to tourists.
The group managing director appealed to government to build standard conference centres that could accommodate the international tourists.
He said it could collaborate with tour operators to package a tour of international tourists to all the tourism sites in the country.
“This will open the eyes of international tourists to the domestic tourism potential that we have in the country.
“ It will also attract foreign investors to invest in the rich cultural and tourism potential that the country is endowed with, “ he said.