By Jimoh Babatunde
As the Federal Government is getting set to inject tax payers money into the organization of yet another Abuja Carnival, Chief Mike Amachree has said that the carnival does not have the capacity to attract tourists to Nigeria.
Chief Mike Amachree said that organizing the carnival yearly without developing the various tourist attractions in the country as well as infrastructure is a waste of public fund.
He said infrastructure in the country is down and that most of the tourist attractions are begging for attention, yet, the government will continue to waste money on Abuja carnival that has failed to attract tourists.
“For the last three editions of the Abuja Carnival, what you see are not foreign or domestic tourists, but organizers and those sponsored by the respective state governments to the events.”
Chief Amachree said if Nigerians can not pay to see the annual Abuja Carnival not to talk of foreigners, then it is not worth wasting government on.
“Any tourism event that does not generate money or revenue should be forgotten as tourism means money.”
The owner of the Port Harcourt Tourist Beach said instead of wasting money on the Abuja Carnival, the private sector should be allowed to organize it.
He explained that the concept of the Abuja carnival was started by the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria in 1992 under his leadership with the help of Hilton hotel then.
Amachree noted that with the involvement of the private sector in the organization of the Abuja Carnival, the carnival will get the necessary exposure in foreign countries in terms of promotion and marketing.
“The tour operators in the country are in a better position to market the carnival so as to attract the desired tourists from within and outside the country.
“Amachree said the tour operators with their clouts in the travel industry are in a better position to attract tourists to Nigeria with the contacts they have with their colleagues all over the world. “Since operators and wholesalers represent millions of dollars of business to airlines, hotels, car rental firms and attractions, they carry a lot more clout than individual travelers and that opens doors.”
It will be recalled that the immediate past Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, set up a 10_man committee for the Abuja Carnival 2011.
The minister handed the chairmanship of the committee to the Acting Director of Culture, Mr. George Ufot, while the Artistic Director remains the Professor of Dance, University of Abuja, Ojo Bakare.
The chairmanship of the carnival since the inception in 2005 has been the exclusive preserve of the minister, but he relinquished the position this year to enable him handles other crucial issues towards ensuring the success of the carnival.
Other members of the committee include Grace Ekpe, Armstrong Idachaba and Sam Agbi heading various sub_committees.