Cross River calls for ‘rethink’ of Nigeria’s tourism sector

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[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]

Cross River Government has called for a rethink of the country’s tourism sector.

State governor, Professor Ben Ayade made this known during his keynote address during this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations on Tuesday, September 27, in the state.

Prof Ben Ayade

The state governor who was represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu questioned the merger of the Ministry of Information with that of tourism at the federal level.

He said tourism is a major revenue earner in any country that wants to develop should take it seriously.

According to Professor Esu, “I remember when I was Minister of State for Tourism, we had a robust tourism policy and that was something that, if we had followed would have taken us forward.

“That seems to have been abandoned and therefore we really should sit down and rethink what this tourism sector is all about.

“I was even taken aback when this administration came and abolished the ministry of tourism  and merged with the ministry of information.

“I praise you honourable minister for having such a big ministry, information on its own and now merged with another ministry which was developed to be big enough to deserve to have a minister of state as part of it.

“We really need to rethink tourism, this idea of meeting every year, making speeches and then going away with nothing happening we should stop it.

“Everybody knows tourism is a major revenue earner for any country that wants to develop, tourism is a major thing to think about and so let’s rethink tourism”, Professor Esu said.

On his part, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed expressed his profound appreciation and gratitude to the Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, for hosting this event, which marks the official celebration of the 2022 World Tourism Day in Nigeria.

He said this is a further demonstration of his zeal and enthusiasm for the development of tourism in the state as a tool for job creation, revenue generation and poverty alleviation.

He added that this year’s theme: “Rethinking Tourism”, aims to inspire the debate around rethinking tourism for development, including through education and jobs, tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably.

The event, he added  is also considered as a powerful advocacy tool and occasion to mobilize political will and resources, address global problems, celebrate and reinforce achievements at all levels and educate the public on issues of concern.

In his message, Zurab Pololikashvili, the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said rethinking one of the world’s economic sectors will not be easy but we are already well on the way.

He said they are also making significant progress on making tourism a central driver of the green, the blue and digital economies, ensuring growth does not come at the expense of people or planet.

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