The country’s former Ambassador to Spain, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, has said that tourism was a veritable platform for increasing Nigeria revenue generation.
Ojukwu, who made the assertion at the opening of “2015 Akwaaba Travel Expo’’ on Sunday in Lagos, said Nigeria had beautiful things that could attract tourists to the country.
She said that the country could generate a lot of revenue from tourism, especially now that its economy would be diversified.
Ojukwu urged the government to use tourism to generate revenue, create employment and increase foreign exchange earnings for economic growth.
According to her, the number of local and foreign exhibitors at the event in spite security challenges is a sign of good things to come from Nigeria’s tourism industry.
“The fair will bring about tourism and cultural integration and corporation between Nigeria and other foreign countries.
“It will also serve as a platform for branding and showcasing individual countries’ tourism destinations.
“It is not only Nigeria that is facing security challenges; it depends on how you project your country,’’ she said.
Ojukwu urged Nigerians to always project the nation’s tourism industry in good light, noting that negative publications about the country would put off patronage from the outside world.
“Nigeria is a great nation with great people, nice hospitality and also with rich cultural heritage,’’ she said.
Mr Aminu Agoha, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), said the benefits of the fair to the Nigerian economy were enormous.
Agoha said the influx of foreigners would increase foreign exchange earnings and also boost patronage for the hospitality industry.
He urged the Federal Government to upgrade the historical and tourists sites across the country to meet foreign standard.
Agaho urged stakeholders in the industry and government to pay more attention to domestic tourism.
“We should market more of our domestic tourism to the world instead of those of foreign countries.
“We have lots of tourism potential to sell to the world,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the three-day event which began with a “Wedding Show’’, sponsored by Dubai Tourism in partnership with Emirates, will feature exhibitors from other African countries.
The event will end on Nov. 25.