Nigeria to develop sustainable tourism

Ekene Okafor, Lagos

Nigeria's Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed joins fellow African Ministers of Tourism at a panel discussion on Sustainable Tourism on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Nigerian government has demonstrated that it has the political will to drive a sustainable tourism.

As a sign of its political will, the present administration is reviving the Presidential Council on Tourism to develop the tourism sector.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this assertion at a panel of African Ministers of Tourism in Morocco on Thursday.

He, however, advised that for tourism to be sustainable, it must first be put on a sound footing.

”We have a rich diversity in our culture and tourism sector. We have so much that the world wants to see. We have stories that the world wants to hear.”

”But the challenge for us is to leverage our huge diversity to make tourism the next oil in Nigeria,” he said.

The Minister noted that the Steering Committee of the Council had already met to prepare its agenda.

He also said that since tourism could not thrive without security, transparency and good infrastructure, the government was investing in massive infrastructural development.

”Security has improved drastically, especially in the North-east where Boko Haram has been decimated.”
”The government also puts a lot of premium on transparency, which is required for boosting investor confidence and encouraging tourism. The fight against corruption has been ratcheted up and no one is deemed to be a sacred cow as far as the fight against corruption is concerned,” he insisted.”

He added that, ”With all modesty, the present administration had been working hard to move tourism from the margins to the mainstream, especially since tourism is identified as one of the sectors upon which the government’s economic diversification is anchored. Tourism has now been brought to the front burner.”