By Jimoh Babatunde
LAGOS—AS efforts to develop the tourism sector in the country into a thriving business and the best means of diversifying the nation’s economy, a new movement has emerged with selected stakeholders developing a new roadmap for the development of domestic tourism.
According to the group, this roadmap, which was unfolded recently during a webinar, is expected to serve as the fulcrum for growing the vast and diverse potential of the sector into a money-spinner.
The group said tourism can only develop through the concerted efforts of the private sector, hence the new move, which enjoys the support of one of the leading banking institutions in the country.
Members of the group, made up of tourism entrepreneurs and marketing professionals, are Otunba 0Olawanle Akinboboye, Founder/CEO, La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, who heads the team; Isaac and Nneka Moses, Founders, Goge Africa Worldwide Limited; Efetobo Awhana, Founder/CEO, Nigeria Travel Week; Dr. Mohammad Adamu, Founder, Bauchi Friends, and Brian e Ebden, Strategic Director/Brand Consultant, TEOO Universal Concepts, as well as Sterling Bank, as the financial institution backing the entire project.
The group, in a document, entitled “Collaborative Tourism Practitioners; Roadmap for the Development of Domestic Tourism in Nigeria,” noted that Nigeria as a country is blessed with diverse potentials.
They noted the potentials dot the 774 local government areas, spanning 923,768 square kilometers and supported by over 200 million population made of a growing middle class and vibrant youth force, which makes the country a rich market to be explored by both investors and tourists.
Based on this, Chairman of the group, Akinboboye, said: “This is our strength; we want to be known as the cultural capital of the world as no other country has such abundant and unique cultural heritage as we do.
“So, we need to build our destination on that central theme and then other aspects would evolve around it.”
He further stated that it is only when this is done and Nigeria becomes noted for its cultural heritage as the East Africans are noted for safari and wildlife (Ecotourism) tourism, that real development and marketing of the tourism sector for the benefits of the people and country can be achieved.
The document further stated that Nigerians should focus more on developing tourist destinations as opposed to tourist attractions.
It added that attractions are not what ignite the interest of the tourists in a country, but the destinations which offer the tourists the opportunities to explore and spend money on the activities generated by the destinations.