Minister calls for tourism investment in Nigeria

Solomon Chung, Abuja

Investment in Tourism marketing in cities where Nigeria’s image will be properly projected is imperative for development. On this note, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed appealed to the media to project a positive image of the Nation instead of echoing the misinformation about widespread insecurity in the Country.

Wary of misinforming
The Minister urged the media to be wary of misinforming the publics  that 20 out of the 36 states were not safe, saying every Nigerian state is safe for investment and tourism. He spoke while receiving members of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria, who paid him a courtesy call in Abuja on Thursday.

”If they want to tell their people not to come to Nigeria, we do not need to help them to spread the news…You do not need to spread news about Nigeria that will hurt investment and tourism,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed enjoined members of the Association to complement the efforts of the government in promoting the good image of the country, stressing that perception management and aggressive marketing are key to tourism promotion.

“I will mention an area which is dire to tourism and development. That is the area of marketing tourism. We do not market tourism enough. Tourism is driven by perception more than by reality.

What do I mean? Today, countries that are less endowed and peaceful than Nigeria…go on CNN and Aljazeera to advertise themselves as the countries of peace and stability. We must change the perception and invest in perception management,” he explained.

Alhaji Mohammed said the ministry was working to change the general perception about tourism as a mere leisure instead of as a business, because of its huge potential in the diversification of the economy, hence the renewed drive to partner with the UN World Tourism Organisation, to rejig the nation’s tourism architecture.

He also told the association that he had made recommendation for the resuscitation of the Presidential Council on Tourism involving all stakeholders across ministries, departments and agencies with a view to fashioning out a holistic approach towards the development of tourism.

Repositioning tourism
He urged leaders to do more to promote domestic tourism by spending their vacation in the country as leaders in other climes do.

In his address, the National President of the Association, Kabir Mallam, hailed the Minister for his uncommon commitment to repositioning tourism.

“Permit me sir to appreciate you for the three significant outings since assumption of office: Tourism and Culture summit held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in April, 2016; Your appearance before the House of Representatives on May, 2016 and most recent visit to the UNWTO this month,” he said.

Mallam called for a review of the Tourism Master plan to conform to current realities, saying that the association has set up a committee to complement government in that regard.

He also called for the enactment of laws, to regulate tourism practice in Nigeria, to guard against the unscrupulous activities of quacks in the sector.