Faraway in Vienna, Austria, Nigerians in Diaspora, Europe (Austrian Chapter) dedicated two days to supporting the Federal and state governments on developing Nigeria Tourism sector, proffering solutions with experts in tow. Much more than academics, on the second day, the whole of Vienna was held spellbound with one of Nigeria’s top tourism product, Adire Carnival. Omolola Itayemi writes about this enlightening experience

Held on July 1st, the event was attended by many stakeholders in tourism industry in Europe, Nigeria and other parts of the world, including representatives of Nigerian and European government agencies.

In his welcome remarks, the chairman of NIDOE Austria Chapter, Oluyemi Ogundele thanked all the participants for gracing the occasion in spite of the difficulties encounter by many in obtaining Austrian visa. He then reminded all that the main aim and objective of the event was to showcase Nigeria’s tourism potentials, scout for investors and to recommend Nigeria as tourism destination. He informed the Diasporas in the hall that they were the main target group for investment and as tourist. “The over 20 million Diasporas could make a very big difference,’ he said.

The event was declared open by the Charge D’Affaire of Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Gazing J.N. Dangtim. He informed the participants that Nigeria was naturally blessed with locations that could attract tourists from all over the globe. Dangtim  mentioned of the large beaches located all over the country, waterfall, games reserves, rock formations, rain forest. He further mentioned that Nigeria, being the largest economy in Africa, could accommodate many investors and guarantee high returns. He then invited investors to come and invest in the country’s tourist sector. He concluded by stating that the Nation was endowed with huge minerals resources that could attract foreign investors any day and that the government of President Buhari was ready to accommodate foreign investors and tourist. He also mentioned that he had put adequate security in place to guaranty safety and has zero tolerant for corruption to make the investors get maximum returns for their investment.

Next was the Goodwill message sent by AbikeDabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora which was read on her behalf by Ms Rita Ogunfojuri, the NIDOE Austria General Secretary. Dabiri-Erewa thanked NIDOE for organising the event, describing it as a wonderful initiative to assist the federal government in her policy to diversify Nigeria’s economy.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation made by Kayode Ayenimelo, a tourism expert based in Canada, in which he described Nigeria’s Tourism sector as a goldmine ready to be explored. He was very optimistic that Nigeria could generate enough fund from this sector to sustain her economy, this was backed up with facts and figures. .

Then it was the turn of the knowledge management expert, Dr Andreas Brandner to take the stage. He spoke of the need to apply the right knowledge to maximise the gains expected from the huge investment. He reiterated that no matter how much potentials Nigeria may possess in the tourism sector, it would amount to nothing if it is not well managed.

He gave the Austrian experience as success story. He also offers the assistance of his institute if needed.

In his presentation, Kayode Obembe, a real estate and property businessman informed the participants on how he started his business with just few thousands of Naira and how it grew bit by bit until it became a multi-million naira business today.

He invited Diasporas to come back home and invest in properties and own houses of their own as this would encourage them to visit home constantly together with their friends and families. He further listed locations in Nigeria where they could invest in properties with high dividend.