As the current economic recession takes its toll on Nigerians, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday said the period was one that offers a viable opportunity for Nigeria to harness the potentials of other critical sectors such as tourism to revive the ailing economy.
The governor, who spoke at the National Tourism Conference held at the Eko Atlantic City (EAC), Lagos, in commemoration of the 2016 World Tourism Day, said the economic realities, was a wake-up call for the country to re-order its economic priorities and develop other revenue generating channels.
He said the conference, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, was a necessary and strategic decision that would enhance the prospects of diversifying the revenue generation channels of the country for the development and growth of the nation’s economy.
Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, said there are states blessed with natural tourism sites which could be developed to harness opportunities that would generate wealth and create jobs for the people.
He said a recent study by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) projected that the travel and tourism industry in Nigeria would contribute 1.6 percent directly to the country’s Gross Domestic product (GDP) by 2024 which represents N1.366 billion, and 1,194,000 direct employment.
“The potentials of this sector can only be harnessed if we create the right environment for investment to thrive. We must open up the sector through incentives, attractive policies as well as the provision of world class infrastructure,” the governor said.
He said Lagos, as a coastal location, is blessed with 283 kilometers of coastline apart from other tourism potentials, adding that his administration remained focused on the goal of making the state the hub of tourism and entertainment in Africa.