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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Imoke tasks FG, states on incentives for tourism operators to grow sector

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Former Governor of Cross River, Sen.

Liyel Imoke, has urged government at all levels to create incentives for tourism operators to effectively boost the development and promotion of the sector to a more enviable level in Nigeria.

Imoke spoke during the 25th Annual General Meeting and tourism conference of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) in Abuja on Thursday, with the theme, “Nigeria Tourism: The way forward”.

Imoke, in a statement on Friday said that this was the only way to practically grow the sector and make it contribute meaningfully to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said that though tourism was private sector driven, but in Nigeria,  the government ended up being the mover instead of the private sector.

Imoke decried this development, which he said had greatly hindered the growth of the sector in the country.

He said to ensure tourism growth, government must look critically into its role and focus more on providing different forms of incentives for the investors and operators who were commited to growing the sector.

“Tourism has to be private sector driven with government as the enabler but sometimes, government becomes the mover.

“Government must create incentives as one of the mandatory roles otherwise we would not grow the industry,” he said.

Imoke explained that Nigeria had all it takes to have a vibrant tourism industry.

“The disagreement between the government and the private sector should not define the industry, the industry is bigger than all of us and it will continue to grow,” he said.

According to him, data and statistics were key factors in setting the pace for practical tourism as he highlighted the challenges posed by lack of data to plan and determine the contribution of tourism to the economy.

He said the unattractive nature of Nigerian tourism was due to the lack of tourism culture among Nigerians, insecurity and cultural beliefs.

“The greatest challenge I find is insecurity and access to tourism, which government has to provide and when government fails then the investors and operators too fail.

“These are critical issues that we must address; why is the tourism budget shrinking when we have a sector that we want to grow; how and when do we create capital for the industry; Is tourism a luxury good or is it a necessity; all of these are part of the challenges that we face,” he said.

NewsSourceCredit: NAN

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