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 Tourism Should Be Nigeria’s Number One Revenue Generator, Surpassing Oil and Gas, Says Tourism Minister Ade-John

Nigeria’s tourism minister is confident in the ability of every community to accommodate, entertain, and share unique stories with visitors.

Nigeria’s Minister for Tourism, Lola Ade-John, has said that the tourism industry in Nigeria should be the country’s biggest revenue generator, even surpassing the oil and gas industry.

The Tourism Minister made this statement in an interview with ARISE NEWSNIGHT on Wednesday, as she highlighted several steps that are being taken by the Ministry of Tourism to enhance the industry

Ade-John said, “For Nigeria, and also in the Presidency, it’s been very clear that tourism should be the number one revenue generator for Nigeria. It should surpass the oil and gas industry, the revenue from the oil and gas industry. And so we looked at tourism in general because we were separated from culture and we said, okay, fine, we have issues that we are not ready to resolve right now but in the meantime, what can we do? 

“We can prepare the country to embrace our locals to be tourists, and also to encourage our communities to be ready to embrace, you know, the tourists in their communities.”

The minister outlined the core principles of Nigeria’s tourism doctrine, emphasising the potential for community-based tourism to thrive. She expressed confidence in the ability of every community in Nigeria to accommodate, entertain, and share its unique stories with visitors, saying that this could enable the community to generate self-revenue.

In terms of improving the visa experience for inbound tourists, Ade-John said, “Well, for inbound tourists, there are many factors that affect their experience. First thing is getting the visa. The Minister of Interior has pledged that they will be able to get visas online. And the visa on arrival is a different story, but if it is available online, then it makes life easier. In fact, we are even planning to go the next step.

“The request we have, that is from tourism, is to find out if it is possible for African tourists or you know, people that have African visa, they can come to Nigeria. You know, just like in Schengen, if you have one Schengen visa, you can go to another. So that’s what we are looking at. We don’t know how possible it would be, but those are the kind of engagements.”

The Minister then revealed plans to revive the Presidential Tourism Council as she said,  “So one of the things that we’re planning to do is to resuscitate the Presidential Tourism Council which will be headed, hopefully by the President himself and the stakeholders in that meeting, or the members of that Council are going to be the Ministers, some, not all, the ministers, but some of the ministers. And of course we will have aviation there, we will have health, we will have defence, we will have works, and then we’ll have immigration, to name a few, on that Council. And then from there, we’ll start bringing up some of those issues. So the Council will be focused on tourism related issues.”

She also highlighted collaborative efforts with various states across Nigeria to develop and promote tourism destinations, saying, “Because of the president’s Renewed Hope agenda, almost every state has them going big on tourism. We’ve been to Ikogosi, that was a community based engagement, and they were involved in, from Grandfather to grandchild, they are involved in the development, they’ve cleared the place, even the teachers and the tour operators. So I liked that concept and we are using that concept as a model.

“And for Cross River, the Obudu mountain resort, that is also coming up, and we were talking to Cross Rivers State. There is also Yankari in Bauchi. There is also Yobe for Desert safari. There is Osun Osogbo, the Osun state governor, we’ve started discussions on some of the things that we are going to do there. We even stopped at Ondo also for that. And Badagry in Lagos State, we went there. We visited, you know, like we almost got to the point of no return, but the road was a bit too much for me. And the governor went when we went to Badagry, and he, you know, said almost the same thing, and also committed to helping them develop.

“But not only that, we went to Epe, and we know that stories that we of course we need to validate about the Queen of Sheba that she was buried in Epe. She was buried in Ijebu Ode, but there’s a tunnel from Epe that goes in.”

Minister Ade-John then emphasised that Nigeria is a country that is filled with not just beautiful sights, but beautiful people, and must be showcased to the world.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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