Tourism minister urges Nigerians to preserve historical assets

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The Minister of Tourism, Mrs Lola Ade-John, has urged Nigerians to preserve the nation’s historical and cultural assets for posterity.

Ade-John said this during the 10th edition of Wonders of Nigeria Expo, on Friday in Lagos.

She said Nigerians must be passionate in preserving the nation’s tourism assets and develop some sense of pride in them.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Wonders of Nigeria Expo, organised by Ikechi Uko, a tourism promoter, is designed to deliberately highlight and promote Nigeria’s historical sites.

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The event featured photo exhibition of over 1,000 tourist sites cutting across the 36 states of the nation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“As we celebrate the 10th edition of this expo, let us not only marvel at the wonders before us but also reflect on the importance of preserving and protecting them for future generations.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that these treasures remain intact for years to come so that others may experience the same sense of awe and wonder that we feel today.

“In order to achieve this, we must carry along our people. Community engagement is vital to the preservation of our assets and history.

“We must engage our local communities and train them on basic tourism skills, entrepreneurship, hospitality, cleanliness as well as love and respect for cultural differences.

“This approach embodies what I call the ‘Doctrine According to Tourism.’ It will empower and encourage our people to contribute to the country’s revenue diversity plan as the President emphasises in his Renewed Hope Agenda,” she said.

The minister urged Nigerians on the need to promote responsible tourism by dwelling more on telling positive stories of Nigeria to attract tourists.

She said, “Nigeria is a beautiful country, people pay a lot to see gorillas, go on water and we have them, the only thing we do not have is our sense of pride, that has to change , we need to love this country.

“As government, we will ensure we set up standards, resuscitate the presidential tourism council and encourage the doctrine of tourism.”

Earlier, Nneka Isaac-Moses, Managing Director, Goge Africa, urged the Federal Government to invest in training and capacity building for practitioners in the industry.

She said government must also work on provision of accommodation facilities at identified tourism sites within the country for tourists’ comfort.

She appealed to government at all levels to support in funding and creating enabling environment for tourism businesses to thrive.

Also, Mrs Ime Udom, National President, Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), spoke on the contributions of Nigerian tour operators toward grooming the industry.

According to Udom, these tour operators over the years, have been able to unravel new tourism sites, promote and drive traffic to such sites.

She, however, called the federal government to work directly with tour operators and ensure provision of grants for them, to be able to do more.

She said the needed infrastructures should also be provided at all tourism and heritage sites to make marketing of such sites easier.

Ibrahim Makanjuola, Founder of Nigeria Tourism Lovers, said accessing some of the nation’s tourism sites was problematic due to poor road network.

Makanjuola advised the federal government to work on putting in place good roads.

”Security personnel should also be sensitised on the business of tourism.

“Government needs to help us, we are often harrassed by security operatives while on tour, they see us as youths gallivanting around, and as fraudsters, these security personnel must be taught the business of tourism.”

The highlight of the event was the presentation of ‘Travellers Award’ to some individuals who have contributed toward promotion of tourism sites in the country.

Ekiti, Abia, Enugu, Edo and Cross River states won the most active tourism state of the year 2023 while Gov. Eno Umo emerged the governor of the year 2023.

Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR),  won the ‘2023 Tourism Chief Executive Officer’ award.

Ibom Air bagged the best airline in 2023, Mrs Ime Udom won the tourism promoter of the year award while Ekiti and Akwa Ibom states won the most sort after.

Favour Udom emerged the tourism photographer of the year and Funke Ogunkoya-Futi bagged the travel communicator of the year award.

100 practitioners who were trained on tourism promotion were inducted into the “Tourism 100 Club”. (NAN) 

By Taiye Olayemi

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