Mr Edwin Enenta, a tourism expert, has urged the Federal government to show more commitment to improve the tourism sector in order to tap inherent benefits from it.
Enenta, Head of Travel and Tourism Department, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Abuja who gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja described tourism as a goldmine waiting to be tapped.
“Tourism is a multifaceted and multidimensional activity. It is not just about fun; it is business and government should look at it as business.
“It makes more money than most other industries.
“Saudi Arabia has more oil than Nigeria, but what Saudi gets from “religious tourism“ is unquantifiable.
“ I want us to join hands to sell tourism because oil is finishing, and even where there is oil, there is usually crisis,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria is rich in tourist destination that can yield good return on investment.
“Every local government area you go in Nigeria, there is an investible tourist potential and tourism is consumed at source.
“Those sites, like beaches cannot be moved to other location, So, the local communities will always benefit.
“It is the only viable alternative to oil and government should place more priority on tourism.
“ Countries like Kenya, Gambia are earning immense benefits from tourism, but Nigeria is even more endowed than these countries.’’
Ementa said that the mandate of NIHOTOUR was to raise manpower for the industry and make it more attractive.
“The mandate of the institute is to raise manpower in the hospitality and tourism industry, to fill the gap.
“The bane of the industry is lack of adequate manpower. In many hotels, you do not find career professionals. People usually start up with family and friends.
“The burden is on us to sell tourism. Tourism, now, is the biggest employer of labour going by UN statistics,’’ he said.
He said that tourism might not be very quick on investment but overtime, it would overtake other businesses.
“ Nigeria is so endowed in tourism, looking at the cultural diversity and the natural environment.’’