World Tourism Day: Tourism plays key role in economic dev’t, says Skal President, Olotu

President, Skal International (Nigeria) Mr. Daisi Olotu has re-emphasised the importance of tourism as an effective tool for socio-economic development, adding that the tourism sector plays a key role as a driving force of economic development with a huge impact the industry can have in the different stages of economic development depends on the specific characteristics of each country.

Olotu spoke at an occasion to mark this year’s 42nd World Tourism Day with the theme, “Rethinking Tourism”.

World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on September 27th to create awareness about the importance of tourism and its impact on society.

 

The Skal chief admitted that the African continent and Nigeria are truly blessed and adorned with rich diversity, the abundance of untapped resources, cultural heritage, historical sites, wildlife, and deserts, adding that if properly harnessed, could provide considerable opportunities for cultural tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, and diaspora tourism.

According to him, the country’s distinct diverse yet similar attributes stood Nigeria and Africa out from the rest of the world.

According to him, “Tourism they say is the process or act involving the visiting of people to places of interest for the purposes of relaxation, entertainment, and pleasure but permit me to say this, tourism transcends these known facts. Tourism is a way of life”.

“If properly harnessed, could provide considerable opportunities for cultural tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, and diaspora tourism. Our distinct diverse yet similar attributes stood Nigeria and Africa out from the rest of the world”.

“When we talk about re-think tourism, we are not just emphasizing luxury relaxation but the rich cultural heritage of people, revenue generations, job creation, development, and growth. Statistics have shown that tourism contributed to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment”.

Olotu who is also the Chairman/CEO of Dees Travels and Tours disclosed that while other African countries are committing resources to their tourism marketing, Nigeria’s lack of prioritization of her tourism industry has not only affected the development of tourism potential but adversely affected the marketing programmes to attract enough tourists to the country, hinting that Skal could be a vehicle to advertise the nation’s tourist sites.

“You will agree with me that there’s more to discover in Nigeria and Africa potential tourist centres ranging from amazing sites to some of the best culinary delicacies, to captivating cultures and lifestyles. It is therefore expedient that all stakeholders should make a conscious effort to contribute to the growth of tourism in Nigeria and Africa”.

He appealed to the Federal Government to create an enabling environment and ensure that prevalent issues such as security, multiple taxations, and lack of infrastructure to mention a few are well taken care of and grant tax incentives to hospitality and tourism-related industries, invest in basic infrastructure, better airport facilities and good transport system which would enhance the growth of tourism.

This, he said, would go a long way to ensure stable tourism demand in Nigeria.

He charged tourist stakeholders to support Skal International, Nigeria in her quest to put the Nigeria tourism sector on the tourism road map.

Skal International is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting branches of the travel and tourism industry.

Wole Shadare