An elder statesman and one of the leading tourism promoters in the country, Alabo Mike Amachree, has advised both the federal and state governments to stop investing in cultural carnivals.
Amachree who organised the first Abuja Carnival in 1990 and the second Rivesr State cultural festival with other stakeholders in 1993, in Port Harcourt, explained that cultural carnivals are not capable of attracting inbound tourists to Nigeria.
He said: “It is merely a jamboree. For instance, the carnival usually organised in Port Harcourt and Abuja did not even attract local tourists talk less international tourists.”
He said what could bring international tourists to Nigeria were investments in world class tourist sites and museums where Nigerian culture and history will be displayed permanently.
Amachree said all the carnivals organised in the country in Calabar, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja should be done by the private sector while the government ‘s position should be to provide tourism infrastructure. He reiterated that government is required to encourage and assist the private sector to grow as the success of the private sector was the only way the government could claim success in tourism.
He said attractions such as the National Theatre, Lagos, should be upgraded to first class tourist centre adding that it should be named a film production village where artistes will entertain on daily basis. “It will be likened to Hollywood in Los Angeles,” he noted.
Also, he said the Yankari Game Reserve was the only game reserve that could compare to the Nairobi Wildlife Park in Kenya. He urged the Federal Government to partner Bauchi State in developing it.
The Port Harcourt Tourist Beach, he said, has the best location for aquatic tourism (boat regatta, boat cruise, fishing festival and swimming competition in Nigeria.
The tourist expert described Ogbunike cave in Anambra State as a wonder of nature. He likened it to the Hercules, Tangiers in Morocco. He also called on the Federal Government to assist the state to develop the state into an international tourist site.
The Wase Rock, in Plateau State which has been described as highest mountain in Nigeria compared to the Tanzanian Kilimanjero according to Amachree should also be developed.
He also explained that the Emir of Kano’s palace should be furnished with antiquities and monuments and tourists should allowed to tour the palace and savour the rich culture of Kano. He said: “During my visit to the palace with members of the Nigerian Tourism Associations in the 1990, the late emir (Ado Bayero) and I agreed that the palace should be elevated to a tourist site. They will also enjoy the pleasure of horse display in the palace to know the history of the emirate. “
Amachree also recommended for the development of the six tourist sites to ensure that the Federal Government is fair to the six geo-political zones in terms of federal assistance to tourism development and promotion in the country.