‘We Want to Make Tourism a Major Contributor to GDP’
It was no mean feat catching up with Chief Edem Duke. The spanking new Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel provided the perfect backdrop to a conversation that centred on how to make Nigeria a leading player in tourism. The minister was seated calmly at the head of a table a few feet away from the balcony overlooking the creek.
Without doubt, he understands the enormity of the challenges in the sector. He further added that if Nigeria can add the advantages of culture and tourism to that derived from the oil sector, the country will easily overtake South Africa.
In his view, this market is not limited to Nigeria but the West African sub-region and Nigerians in the Diaspora. “But tourism is the biggest economic sector worldwide.” He went on to make the argument that the culture and tourism sector is not just able to accommodate all kinds of professional competences but is also a sector with a low entry barrier.
Duke is of the opinion that the moment things simmer down in North Africa, the number one focus in those countries will not be for the grains to grow but for the tourists to return, especially in a country like Egypt whose tourism sector contributes more than 50 percent of the country’s GDP.
The tourism ministry would build the connection to support these creative talents and would control the quality and standards of the products, he revealed.
The minister then talked about the need to liaise with the Ministry of Education on the necessity of cultural and tourism content in school curricula and also with the Foreign and Internal Affairs Ministries to revisit our visa regimes.
Reorientation and change of attitude of the citizenry towards cultural relics is just as critical to boost tourism in the country.
From the zeal with which he spoke about the challenges and potential of the culture and tourism sector, you can bet on this.
Article originally published at uncsd2012.org