The former governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke says Nigerians must be involved for tourism to thrive in the country.
He was speaking at the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators, (NATOP), AGM Conference 2017 held recently at Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. In 45 minutes, and using Destination Cross River as case study, â€œthe tourism governorâ€ dissected the problems facing Nigeriaâ€™s tourism, which keeps it from reaching its full potentials. Â
And being a practical man, Imoke identified how they can be solved. He said: â€œTourism in Nigeria is absolutely unregulated…if we must be honest, we are not a tourism country.Â
Â â€œThere must be inter-agency collaboration for the industry to gain the much needed traction; essentially, policies and laws must be backed by the required implementation.â€Â
Citing Cross Riverâ€™s many tourist products–#Obudu Ranch Resort, #Tinapa FTZ and Obudu #Mountain Race, among others, he argues that they were all brilliant initiatives that were stifled by a not-so-ideal system of federalism.Â
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker, has reiterated the fact that Nigeria is the cheapest holiday available to its citizens. He also stressed the need for the citizen to explore domestic tourism.
Coker said: â€œWe need to package tourism in a simple manner that the average Nigerian can understand. If we donâ€™t package it, individuals cannot take advantage of it. We understand the product better; we are the most critical audience and will demand better value for our money. At N400 to $1, we are better of spending our naira here as that will make the holiday cheaper and affordable.Â Accommodation, transport, food and drinks will be cheaper to spending dollars outside. That aside, we are also boosting our economy and strengthening our currency by reducing the pressure on it.