Aso Rock, potential revenue generating tourist site, says Expert

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Dayo Adedayo, a British-trained Nigerian documentary photographer, on Friday urged the Federal Government to open up the Aso Rock for local and international tourists to visit.

Adedayo, who gave the advice during the 10th edition of Wonders of Nigeria Expo in Lagos, said this was for the purpose of enlightenment and revenue generation.

He said Nigeria could also be making huge revenue just like the United Kingdom gets from tourists who visit the Buckingham Palace.

He noted that the Aso Rock, being the seat of power in Nigeria with beautiful structures ,attractive landscape and greenery vegetation in its surroundings, could be a good source of revenue for the nation.

National growth LS

“It is time to learn from other nations, the story of Buckingham Palace comes to my mind.

“According to the United Kingdom Independent Newspaper of Saturday,  May, 6, 2023, the Royal family in its annual report of 2019-2020, a record of 3,285,000 people visited the official residences, generating approximately £49,859,000.

“Gift shop sales of the royal collection made £19,983,646 in a single year, making its total income of the year to be £71,526,000.

“While the average annual cost for UK taxpayers in royal upkeep comes to around £500 million in a year, Brand Finance estimates that the monarchy’s brand contributes £2.5 billion to the British economy in the same time frame.

“Nigeria can also generate as much huge revenue when we allow other nations and citizens to visit the Aso Rock while they pay for sightseeing,” he said.

Adedayo said imagery remains a powerful tool to promote tourism in Nigeria as it evolves emotions, sparks curiosity  and creates the desire to experience a destination first-hand.

He said imagery could be utilised effectively in tourism promotion through photographs of stunning landscapes, cultural experiences, landmark attractions, hospitality and accommodation, seasonal imagery, local wildlife and nature.

The documemtary photographer who exhibited 1,000 photographs of tourism sites across the nation, shared personal horrible experiences trying to take certain pictures for tourism promotion in Nigeria.

“I was nearly shot in the State House, Abuja, when I was pointing the president’s resident to my friend’s children who came to Nigeria for the first time from Canada in 2010.

“I had been locked behind the counter several times across the country for taking pictures and I have to pay so much to get out of trouble to bring you some of the pictures I am showing you today.

“Today, we can promote, explore and appreciate Nigeria’s culture where we are with the democratisation of photography through smart phone, you can post your pictures on social media and only God knows the length it goes,” he said.

Speaking, Mr Ikechi Uko, organiser of Wonders of Nigeria Expo, said photography and storytelling were the neccesary tools needed to change the narratives in the tourism space.

Uko urged tourism operators to engage these tools in projecting the nation’s tourism endowments to the world,  to attract tourists.

He advised the operators to ensure photographs used for marketing are properly authenticated.

He also encouraged them to relay personal experiences at these sites through their social media pages and every avenue considered as storytelling.

“Photography and storytelling are the neccesary tools needed to change the narratives in the tourism space but ensure you authenticate pictures before using it for tourism promotion,” he said. (NAN)

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