Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Managing Director/CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo has advised the relevant ministries and agencies of government at the federal and state levels to spearhead the marketing of the tourism sector in Nigeria, saying doing so would help in leapfrogging the sector into a major revenue earner.
Ozigbo, who spoke at a national tourism transport summit and expo in Abuja, stated that if well harnessed, the tourism sector, with its vast potential, could displace oil as the nationâ€™s highest revenue earner.
He, however expressed regret that governments at all levels have continued to accord the sector scant regard, a situation he regretted, was demonstrated by the abysmal marketing of the sector by relevant ministries and agencies of government.
Ozigbo who was a panel discussant in one of the sessions of the event on â€œMarketing Destinations in Nigeria: What Role for the Transportation and Tourism Sectorsâ€, stated that everywhere in the world, governments play the critical role of enablers and marketers of the tourism sector while the private sector acts as the driver.
According to him, with the kind of symbiotic relationship between the government and the private sector in the tourism business, the former should spearhead the marketing role while the latter drives the process.
He noted that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, for instance was expected to be the chief marketing officer of the tourism potential in the nationâ€™s capital.
Doing so, he argued, would avail him with what the challenges in the sector are and propel him to seek solutions with a view to resolving them and boosting revenue drive.
Ozigbo noted that with the absence of a potent marketing of the tourism potential in the FCT, his hotel had gone out of the way to market and ensure that its customers are availed of the pleasure of visiting some tourism sites in the FCT.
â€œIn Transcorp, weâ€™re not only serving our customers, but selling the city. Weâ€™ve been putting together tourism destinations. Our job will be made easier when the government plays their role,â€ he said.
He, therefore, called on state governors, relevant ministers and commissioners in charge of tourism in the states to henceforth spearhead the campaign for tourism marketing.
The Transcorp CEO recalled the strides of a former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke in marketing the tourism potential of that state, which eventually etched the Obudu Resort and other sites in the state on the global map.
He expressed delight with the recent passage of the tourism bill by the National Assembly, noting that it was a positive development capable of revolutionsing the sector.