President, Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Services, Mr. Fadipe Ashamu has asked the federal government to promote the cultures of Nigeria, describing them as major drivers of the tourism and a catalyst for economic growth and job creation.
Mr. Ashamu in an interaction with journalists on the sideline of the recent workshop on ‘Mainstreaming Tourism into the Economic Agenda of Government’ in Abuja, said that oil revenue could no longer provide resources to meet the growing and competing demands of the nation, hence the need to explore tourism as an alternative source of revenue for the government.
He said that Nigeria was blessed with diverse cultures that, if properly attended to by both state and local governments, would serve as a major source of income for Nigeria, particularly in this era of significant drop in oil prices.
“It is not as if other things don’t drive tourism, but because culture is tangible, that is why it is widely believed that it drives tourism. Culture is like a man, and as result, people wants to see what you have rather than other things before they visit you. That is why what we have in terms of cultural performance, festivals drives tourism because people come from far and near to witness different cultural activities like festivals where culture is displayed, and that helps to boost tourism business.”
He said that the experience of the past three decades clearly highlights the shortcomings of a development strategy that places premium on foreign exchange earnings from non-renewable natural resources, especially oil and solid minerals.
‘’The economic and social dislocation that has been the country’s experience from the 1970s right from the first decade of the country had its origin in the collapse of the international oil market. Our experience in the recent past also clearly demonstrates that oil and mineral resources are non-renewable and have very limited potentials for addressing the development challenges that face the country today over the medium and long-term period,” he said.
On advisory note, Mr. Ashamu challenged government to dust up the existing documents that tourism stakeholders had prepared and presented to the previous government for implementation.
“On our side as industry players, we will be ever ready to support the effort of government to boost the sector, particularly at this period that the major source of revenue for government has significantly dropped as a result of the fall in the price of oil in the international market,” he advised.
He, however, challenged government to review the master plan of the tourism industry with more attention on the projects that had been prepared in clusters of projects proposed in the master plan in 2006 which may not be attainable.
Meanwhile, in apaper he presented at the workshop, Mr. Ashamu listed steps through which the gathering of tourism stakeholders would transform the industry for an increased attention and revenue, noting that “tourism drives world economy and Nigeria would be an exception.”

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