Arc. Darius Ishaku, The Governor of Taraba State, has, in the wake of the urgent need to diversify the country’s economy, challenged the federal government to invest heavily in the tourism sector with special attention to his state.
Ishaku, who made this call while speaking to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, said that there is no better place to embark on any serious tourism initiative than Taraba state.
He said the federal government can only demonstrate its readiness to invest in the sector if it makes the state its main pivot scheme.
He said: “One area I believe is very lucrative in terms of investment, is tourism because if you check you find that some countries like Greece, Cuba and even Kenya here make tourism the corner stone of their economy. Tourism gives them enough and it enhances the employment opportunities in these places.
“Unlike other areas, tourism is the sector where the customer doesn’t leave with the commodity. Take the Taj Mahal in India. The place sees millions of customers yearly yet it is still standing. You can only leave with the experience but the tourism attribute remains there for the benefit of the owners. You can imagine how much we as Nigerians spend yearly in travels and sight seeings even with the tough times. Countries are making a fortune from tourism even in a relatively unsafe world.”
The former university don turn politician, stressed that tourism is a low hanging fruit not requiring too much funding.
According to him, “nature has practically finished the work for investment”.
“Take our own offer for example. The Mambilla Plateau is already 80 per cent completed by nature with all the wondrous sight and sound you find there. God has provided natural golf courses, water falls,
wildlife, undulating hills and poetic scenes. The way the weather is constituted, you would think God installed air-conditioning gadgets all over the place all year round.
“It also looks as if God was painting and painted this picture perfect place. So, nature has done its work. What remains now is for us to add the 20 percent of infrastructure needed. This would mean good roads, hotels, amusement parks and shopping malls,” he noted.