Dr Momoh Kabir, Director- General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), says Nigeria stands the chance to reap immense economic benefits from tourism with improved infrastructure in the sector.
Speaking in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, Kabir stressed the need for government to invest massively in tourism infrastructure across the country, especially in tourist destinations.
He assured that Nigeria was blessed with abundant natural and man-made tourism potential which if effectively harnessed could boost government revenue coffer.
“Nigeria is endowed with investible tourism potentials; if government policy on the sector remains consistent, the country can cover lost ground.
“We are all involved in tourism one way or the other, but government has to provide road infrastructure to enable people travel to wherever they want to travel to.
“Tourism sites attract infrastructure. If there is a waterfall in a village, for instance, it will encourage government to construct roads on that site.
“ Government will provide hospitals because people can fall ill while visiting the site,’’ he said.
The director-general also urged government to tackle security challenges in the country, decisively so as not to scare away potential tourists.
According to him, tourism is a sensitive sector, but insecurity has the tendency to scare away visitors that might want to come.
“People want to go to beaches to relax, but they want to visit safe and beautiful beaches.
“There is also the aspect of culture. Cultural tourism is the strength Nigeria and indeed Africa has. We should be able to revive our cultures, nurture them and showcase them to the world,’’ he said.
NIHOTOUR was established in 1987, following a tripartite project agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria, United Nations Development Programme and International Labour Organisation, as part of a comprehensive approach to tourism development in the country.