Osun Tourism Has Potentials To Boost Nigeria, State Economy – NIPSS

The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, has disclosed that Osun state has tourist centres that have the potentials to build the economy of the state and that of the country.

 

According to the institute, Osun has more than 12 internationally known tourist centres which should be used to build the economy of Osun and Nigeria in general. The institute had sent a team to visit some major tourist centres in the state with a plan to develop a strategic framework for the transformation of the state into a top tourism destination in Africa.

 

The team visited the Oluminrin waterfall at Erin-Ijesa, Kiriji war site at Imesi-Ile and Ayinkunnugba waterfall at Oke-Ila on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

 

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday after a two-day visit to some major Osun tourist centres, the leader of the team, Mr Asipita Umar, said: “We are here to form a corporation with the state government on ways and means to facilitate the tourism development situation on the natural occurring tourist attractions in the state.

 

“Osun state is blessed with more than a dozen world recognized tourist centres and sites, that are internationally known. But as it is, the state government has not taken the full advantage of the potentials in terms of economic activities, cultural promotion that the tourism sites in Osun state could offer.

 

“The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies is the apex Nigerian institution that concentrates on analyzing and looking at policy and strategy with relation to critical development issues in Nigeria. Tourism is the second largest contributor to global GDP and the second largest employer of labour worldwide.

 

“If Osun state has these potentials and we have not taken advantage of exploring it to the highest possibilities, NIPSS feel like giving the current trend of diversifying the economy, we have to start looking at areas that have potentials for generating employment, foreign exchange earnings and many other things.

 

“Also, culture is a people, the more you can promote your culture gives you comparative advantage in term of interaction with other people of the world. Our purpose here is mainly explorative, after this we will sit down, have a discussion and come up with what we can do together to attract proper investment to develop these sites to world class places for tourist lovers.”

 

Umar said NIPSS would design a strategic policy framework for the Federal Government for the development of tourism in Osun and other part of the country.

 

In her address, a member of the team, Mrs Zandra Agbor, who is a Chief Consultant in the institute said: “What we have seen so far is quite interesting, if we did not come to this place, we would not know what Osun has on ground.

 

“It is an eye opener to us and I know that if proper investment is done, I am so sure this will open up Osun state and it will generate lots of revenue and serve as great potentials for the state.”

 

The Chairman, Osun Board of Tourism, Engineer Abimbola Daniyan, who took the team round some of the tourist centres in the state said: “This is our single largest opportunity for economic expansion and diversification of our revenue sources.

 

“These places give unpaid publicity for Nigeria and Osun state; go to anywhere on the net, you will find Olumirin waterfalls, Ayinkunugba waterfalls, Kiriji war sites and so many others. It is our duty to ride on the mileage and build a big leverage out of it.

 

“We can do that by driving marketing in more systematic and promotional manner, improve the facilities to enhance the ecstatic value of these assets and provide support services and product which can turn this place to a destination in the proper sense.”

 

Daniyan commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola on his effort at promoting tourism in the state, saying that the governor’s plan for tourism development was halted by the paucity of fund.

 

In his remarks, a member of the team, Professor Sola Adeyanju said: “There are lots of sites in Osun that should actually be used to build the economy of the state and that of the country in general. Tourism is a sure way to boost and diversify our economy.”

 

Google Maps Will Boost Tourism in Nigeria- Lai Mohammed

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated on Friday at the launch of the Economic Value of Geospatial Services in Nigeria that the nation needs to leverage on technology, particularly digital mapping and Street Views to boost tourism in Nigeria.

He said “As we look to make Nigeria a major tourism destination in Africa, technologies such as Google Maps, but more specifically Street View put forward by Google, will become increasingly important on that front. We hope to see even more value as increasing numbers of people use tools like Google Street View to explore Nigeria,” he said.

“We know this because we’ve seen the impact that Street View has had in destinations around Africa. In South Africa, for instance, people can take a guided tour of Robben Island, the prison which held Nelson Mandela and many other South African freedom fighters during apartheid”.

“In Kenya, meanwhile, users can take virtual treks through some of the country’s most famous game reserves. And in Tanzania, people can get up close and personal with the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park as a result of partnership between Google and the Jane Goodall foundation”.

“These are all examples of how giving people a taste of a place they have not visited is a powerful incentive to get them to experience the reality. We look forward to doing the same in Nigeria, as we show off our own natural and cultural heritage.

“It also promotes and encourages patronage of local agriculture and creative industries as well as manufactured products by operators in the tourism industry. That’s especially important as we look to cement our place as Africa’s largest economy”.

He also stated that “Events such as this one offer a powerful reminder of how impactful partnerships between government and private companies like Google can be – to grow our local businesses and strengthen our economy. If digital mapping services have made such a difference in the last five years, we can only imagine what the next five will bring. We look forward to growing this fruitful relationship in the coming years and seeing what Google comes up with next”.

Meanwhile, Mr Dirk Friedrich said the lead product which is Street View and google map is being used by about 1 billion people worldwide monthly. “At Google we are always looking towards Nigeria, trying to make the service easier, especially, the mapping. Also, the service of mapping has reduced traffic in affected cities, created jobs among other benefits”, he said.

Making Osun Tourist Destination Is Our Dream – Oluga

The State of Osun, under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said the present administration in the state would not rest on its oars until Osun is turned to African tourist destination.

The Special Adviser to the governor, Hon. Taiwo Oluga on Friday made this disclosure while speaking on the efforts made so far by her Ministry.

According to her, the Ministry has gotten approval from the Governor to ensure overhauling on the tourist sites across the length and breadth of the state.

Hon. Oluga made the statement on a telephone conversation with our correspondent while speaking on the efforts made so far by her Ministry.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism and Culture said her Ministry has designed programmes and policies that would turn around the socio-economic potentials embedded in tourism and culture.

Oluga maintained that the state is working assiduously to ensure that tourism plays its due role on the economy of the state, saying her Ministry has mustered efforts to make tourism the mainstay of the state’s revenue base.

She described Osun as number one state in Nigeria blessed with rich culture and tourism potentials which according to her has real capacity to bring positive effect on the state’s economy.‎

“Our determination to turn Osun to African tourist destination has in no doubt reached the zenith in view of the positive results on the steps taken so far.

“My emergence in the last four montths has witnessed series of interventions. We have redefined the system. We have designed a workable template as we pursuing right course to turn Osun to cynosure of all eyes in tourism and culture”, she added.‎

Enumerating some of the achievements made so far, Oluga said, “the new leadership under my watch has secured approval to revamp the sector and as I am talking to you,we have made a move to actualize this initiative”.‎

‎”We believe strongly that the renovation of our tourist sites will not only give a befitting look but change the direction to effective and efficient management of the sector.

“If our tourist sites were given the required beautification, renovation and  modern look, thus, the idea of turning our state to African tourist destination will definitely come to fruition.

“And for this singular reason, we will not rest on our oars to ensure that tourism sector wear a new look that will serve as best means of generating revenue for the state.

‎”Within the space of four months, our Ministry has participated at 2017 edition of Drums Festival in Abeokuta; we also participated at Lagos maiden edition of Music and Film Fiesta.

“Our Ministry also sponsored the 2017 edition of Eid-il-Fitr Carnival, 2017 edition of Easter Carnival, 2017 Olojo festival as well as the organization of the maiden edition of National Conference in collaboration with the Institute of Hospitality and Tourism”, Oluga enunciated.   ‎

 

Kogi Marks World Tourism Day

Kogi State has staged a very colorful parade around the state capital, Lokoja, to mark this year’s World Tourism Day.

The parade which showcased the tourism potentials of the confluence state, witnessed motorized caravans, various cultural troupes, artists, showbiz personalities, top government officials and enthusiastic residents, all colorfully attired and exhibiting their talents.

There was a commemorative lecture,  at the Lugard Confluence Beach Hotel, during which the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello applauded efforts by the Federal Government at repositioning the tourism sector as a viable alternative revenue source.

He described the 2017 World Tourism Day as a unique one that has drawn attention to the growing importance of tourism to the global economy, as well as the potential for sustainable development.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Mohammed Awal, he noted that the nation has attained great heights in the area of tourism.

He said numerous serious investors whose interest is to transform Kogi into a tourist haven are continually being attracted to the state.

He charged Nigerians and the people of the state to key into the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day: “Sustainable Tourism: A Tool for Development”.

“Sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environmental resources and respect for host communities. This can ensure viable long-term economic operations so that benefits are equitably distributed among all stakeholders.

“This provides us a unique opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to sustainability and ensure positive impact of well-managed tourism on inclusive and equitable growth that promotes sustainable development and peace, he said.

 

 

 

Source: The Nations

Sallah: Fun Seekers Besiege Nelson Mandela Freedom Park In Osogbo, Lauds Aregbesola’s Social Protection Initiatives‎

The social protection projects of the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has once again been commended by the residents of the state particularly the Eid-El-Kabir holiday makers who besieged popular Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo for Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
The ‎residents also extolled Governor Aregbesola for being aggressive towards rejuvenating the economy of the state through his social protection initiatives.
The Park has in the last few days witnessing an impressive influx of people who have come for one or two recreation, refreshment and relaxation from across the state
It is not an hyperbole to say that the 2017 Eid-el-Kabir was enveloped in funfare and celebration galore with mass participants at the park.
While eulogizing the state government under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola for putting in place such recreation centre, those at the park described the centre as first of its kind in the state.
Speaking intermittently to express their delights on the centre, Comrade Ibrahim Muslihudeen Olayinka; Miss Mufliat Adeniyi, Mr Jooda Nurudeen Olaniyi, Dr. Olawale Sulaimon, Mrs. Romoke Anjonrin, Mr. Salaudeen Sakiru and Engineer Nureni Adebiyi said with the construction of the Park, the state has opened a new ‎opportunity for tourism sector to thrive.
In his words, Dr Sulaimon said the emergence of the  Park in the state capital will in no measure have a great impact in the economy of the state.
According to him, “I am highly impressed to be here with my family. This is impressive and it has to be commended because since the creation of this state, nothing as such was done.
“Despite the fact that this park is still under construction, the facilities therein are in no doubt suitable for refreshment.
“As you can see, we have had a lot of nice times here. We have taken pictures at different locations and my family are in no doubt feeling fully at home.
“Though I don’t stay at home but each time I come home for one thing or the other, I am always impressed with pace of development especially in the area of infrastructure”, Dr Sulaimon added.‎
In the same vein, Comrade Olayinka an indigene of Ilobu in Irepodun Local Government Area of the state, described the Park as unprecedented in the history of the state.
He hailed Governor Aregbesola for turning Osogbo to a real state capital through the provision of physical infrastructures, saying the construction of the Park at a conspicuous location has given Osogbo another face-lift of development.
Olayinka added, “to me the successful construction of this Park has justified the genuine intention of the present government in the state to transform the state capital into mega city.
“Aside massive roads construction that cut across the nooks and crannies of the state particularly Osogbo which is the state capital, this Nelson Mandela Freedom Park is another giant stride that deserves commendation.
“My visit to this Park has opened my eyes to reality that our governor and his government meant well for us because if a government could nurture such a lofty ideology of turning a sawmill to this marvelous garden, then such administration deserves kudos.
“I have been coming here for the last five days I have been in the state, but today I felt like bringing my family here to catch fun, and as I am talking to you, we have all enjoyed our stay at this Park.
“Since it costs no dime, we have freely moved round the facilities especially at the fountain pools that are not only exciting but significant.
“I am a citizen of Osun and I have lived in this state for so many years before I traveled to the North where I am currently working, but through out the times I was at home, no government thought of this.
“So, I really appreciate the political sagacity of Governor Aregbesola that yielded this, it shows that we have a visionary leader at the helm of affairs because if not, many of these initiatives would have been aborted half way”.‎
Corroborating similar gestures, Mrs Anjounrin said the construction of the Park has added another accolade to Aregbesola’s profile, nothing that the history will continue to remember his good works
Mrs Anjounrin, a retired Immigration Officer, said she was very happy to be at the Park where liberty and freedom is prioritized.‎
She said her visit to the Park has made her to further interact with masses most especially the hawkers and streets petty traders that brought their goods to the Park for sale.
“Since this place is free for all, then it is good to be at an amusement park like this where one will meet people from different backgrounds.
“I have come; I have seen and I have benefited from some of the facilities in this garden. Though it is not yet completed and commissioned, but the little facilities here are worthwhile for recreation and refreshment.
“I came from Ikirun though not really because of this park, but when I got to this area, I found a lot of interesting things that hooked my attention.
“I have toured round the Park and I am impressed with the goal which the state is dreamed to actualise on this project, because when it is completed, it will be the best centre to be by all,”Mrs Anjounrin stressed.‎
While appealing to the people in the state to support the state government in its effort to rebuild Osun, a groundnut hawker, Mrs Silifat Kasali, said the influx of the people to the Park has increased her sales.
According to Mrs. Kasali, sales had improved greatly since the volume of the people to the Park began to increase particularly about three days ago.
She attributed the development to a huge investment made by the Aregbesola led government to turn around the Park for the betterment of the citizenry.
“Though Salah celebration is still fresh and people are still coming to this Park in large number,  but how I wish that this Salah continues so that large people could be visiting this place, thus increases sales.
“Over three days ago, my sales has been on the increase and I am happy that my state has such a big and attractive Park like this”, she submitted.‎

Professionals Reject Proposed Tourism Bill

Some industry professionals in Nigeria have opposed the proposed Tourism bill by the National Assembly.

The bill is the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Nihotours Bill that will be available for public hearing on the 15th of June.

Major tourism groupings including the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents, NANTA; Nigerian Association for Tour Operators, NATOP; Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria ATPN and some other associations are opposing the bill.

The Tourism Journalists Association ANJET said “Nihotour and its team are commended for this work (proposed bill), but going through it critically, the motive and objective for the provisions need to be examined.

Nihotour has completely gone beyond its brief and what is expected of it. If it is a training institute then it should restrict itself to that, regardless of the NOC/NOS/NBTE provisions.

What it is seeking to be with the full provisions of this bill is to become omnibus body and ombudsman of tourism, which shouldn’t be.

It continuesd: +If allowed all the powers and functions that it has arrogated to itself what then becomes the function of NTDC and other bodies and agencies within the country and value chain of tourism and other training institutions in the country.

If this bill goes then we have signed the death knell of hospitality and tourism in the country with everyone under the mercies and dictates of Nihotour and who knows what will become even if international hotel brands and experts.

In our opinion, this bill should be totally discarded and fought against in a more organised.”
In its reaction to the proposed bill the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria ATPN said.”

We must do all what is possible to stop this obnoxious bill. We should also be present at the public hearing to vehemently oppose the bill.”

The Institute of Tourism professionals added its voice: “The proposed bill did not take cognisance of the Supreme Court judgement of 19th July 2013 which pronounced that ” The house of Assembly of Lagos state is the body entitled to the exclusion of any other legislative body, to enact laws with regards to rendering technical advice to the Lagos state and local government in the field of tourism.

The bill seeks to negate the new Executive Order of the Acting President on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria as it seeks to great Bottlenecks for Tourism Professionals Distinguished Senators are therefore urged not to support illegality.”

A leading member of Nigerian Zoo Owners Association called said the bill had a “a rent seekers mentality.”

They want to police the industry when they actually have little to offer. In a highly professional sector that is largely operated by the private sector, I see self regulation by the professional bodies of practitioners as most ideal.”

The Nigerian Association of Tour Operators NATOP says the bill is an attempt to corner and colonize tourism by a training school and should be discouraged.

Other stakeholders were of the opinion that Nihotours should aspire to compete with Tourism schools like Utalli College in Kenya instead of trying to become a trainer, a court and a regulator at the same time.

“Imagine Nigerian Law school combining the role of NBA and NJC Along with its training role. Another Writers Association ATTWON said.

We are calling on FG as a matter of urgency to replace the head of the agency and the management which has not contributed to the industry buy drawing us back to the dark ages. ATTWON, Association of Travel and Tourism Writers of Nigeria.”

VON

Nigeria To Host World Tourism Conference

Nigeria has won the right to host the United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference in 2018.

This is an indication of the confidence of the global community has in Nigeria.

Nigeria, on Wednesday, won the right to host the conference at the 61st meeting of African Ministers in charge of Tourism tagged UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF)

“This is a global endorsement of programmes and efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration, ” Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the information and culture minister said.

Mohammed said on Thursday in Addis Ababa that the hosting right reiterated the confidence the global community has in Nigeria.

Mohammed, who led Nigeria’s delegation to Addis Ababa for the 59th edition of the meeting and a high-level meeting on Chinese Outbound Tourism in Africa, said the country would leverage on the hosting opportunity.

“Wednesday was a big moment for Nigeria here in Addis Ababa because Nigeria got the endorsement of the whole world to host the 61st session of the CAF mission of the UNTWO.

“What that means really is that the entire world has endorsed the programmes and efforts of President Buhari’s administration,’’ he said.

Mohammed said that hosting the conference should be seen in a bigger picture that “Nigeria is once again on the global stage’’.

He said the event would provide the country, the opportunity to showcase its diverse culture and give its own narrative from its own perspective.

“Hosting this conference will give confidence to investors that this is a country they can come and invest in.

“It will also convince the entire world that Nigeria is serious about promoting culture, music, film and entertainment industry to diversify its economy,’’ he said,

The minister said that no amount of money invested in hosting the conference could be seen as a waste because of the goodwill it will bring to the country.

He said so many other countries were bidding to host the event to boost their tourism industry and attract goodwill to their nations.

Speaking in the same vein, the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifa said “the endorsement of Nigeria for the hosting of 61st CAF “is a great piece of news for the country’’.

“I am absolutely sure that with the hosting of the CAF meeting, you will see that the Nigeria’s tourism industry will get on the right track and achieve results.

“In addition to the direct economic benefits, this event will bring to the country, the limelight the country will be exposed to is unquantifiable.“

“Nigeria will be hosting all Ministers of Tourism in Africa, that itself will send the powerful message that tourism is important for Nigeria.”

Rifai said Nigeria was a major player in the tourism industry and the UNTWO had missed the country in its fold until the minister launched it back last year.

““Nigeria is one-third in times of number and the weight it represents in the arts, the movie and the creative industry in general in Africa.“

“What comes out of Nigeria in these areas of the industry is enough to be disseminated to the whole world.“

“However, Nigeria is not utilising that yet and this conference will be a great opportunity to realise that,’’ he said.

Rifai commended the passion and efforts of the minister at repositioning the tourism and creative sector.

Animal Population Grows At Kainji Lake National Park

The Conservator, Kainji Lake National Park, Alhaji Mohammed Kabuiru, has said that animal population has increased in the park as a result of frequent patrol by the armed park rangers. Kabiru said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kainji on Friday on the sidelines of the Commemoration of the World Wildlife Day.

The theme of the 2017 World Wildlife Day celebration is: “Listen to the Young Voices’’. He said that varieties of animals were being sighted in the park.

“Such mammals as lion, leopard, hippopotamus, western hart beast, roan antelope among other varieties of reptiles, snails, varieties of wild birds and insects in their numbers,’’ Kabiru said. He said that varieties of aquatic animals and fishes also abound in their natural habitat in the rivers in the park. According to him, elephants are no more sighted in the park because of fragmentation of their natural habitat.

“The elephant migratory corridor has been encroached by farmland and other human activities, along their migratory corridors. “The elephant population is now cut off as a result of farmland and human activities. That is what happened to elephants that used to be in Kainji 13 years ago,’’ he said.

Kabiru said that every game reserve has its peculiarity.

“Cross River National Park has low-land gorillas because of the vegetation of the place.

“The vegetation of a place determines the animals that are found in any game reserve,’’ the conservator said.

Kabiru, however, said that poachers sometimes carried out their unscrupulous activities by logging, fishing, hunting and grazing. He said poachers were prosecuted when caught.

According to the conservator, the park receives more researchers (undergraduate and post-graduate students) than people visiting for recreation. “This year alone, we have received from different parts of the country more than 2, 000 students on excursion and field trips,’’ Kabiru said.

NAN reports that the Kainji National Lake Park is protected for tourism, conservation of its resources, both plants and animals, for the purpose of research and recreation. It covers an area of 5,340.82 km and was established in 1978. Its climate exhibits wet and dry seasons from April to November and November to April respectively.

“The park is a typical inselberg landscape with round hills, wide pediments and plains separating them and incised river channels slopping down toward the River Niger valley.

“Some of the rivers in the park include: Oli Menei, Doro and Manyara Rivers among others.

Credited: The Guardian

Osun: Tourism as a Tool for Generating Revenue, by Onagbeso Temitope

Tourism is perceived by practitioners in the field and stakeholders alike as possessing viable potentialities in terms of internally generated revenue in order to boost the economic revenue of the three tiers of government—the federal, state and local governments. However, has there been a serious move towards the realization of this lofty objective? What proactive measures have been put in place by the stakeholders themselves? Have our policy makers been able to really integrate tourism into the system? What have the various tiers of government been able to do in this regard? So many posers begging for answers.
Using the Osun Osogbo cultural fiesta within the precincts of the Osun Osogbo sacred grove’s perimeter as an example, there are myriads of tourists who troop into the grove in their hundreds and thousands before, during and after the internationally acclaimed festival. Statistics show that tourists of different shapes and sizes visit the grove either as visitors or as scholars on academic research. Information available to this writer from the educational unit of the National Museum, Osogbo, indicates that from 2013 to 2015, a total number of 78,000 tourists, both indigenes and foreigners alike, came to the grove. There is an avalanche of opportunities to harness revenue for the state and local governments, with the Federal Government getting the lion share.
The issue of a car park during Osun Osogbo festival remains the core issue. The buffer zone can be put into effective use by creating a special area as parking venue. Apart from controlling the human and vehicular movement, it would also gear up revenue realisation and mobilisation for all the stakeholders concerned. Talks are under way to tame the tide of this social or cultural issue in the not too distant future. Again, the creation of new local government within the existing ones is a right step in the right direction. In Osogbo local Government, we now have Osogbo Local Government Central at Oke Baale, Osogbo Local Government ( South) tentatively at Oja-Oba within the ambience of Ataoja’s palace and Osogbo Local Government (North) at Awosuru area. The recent reconstruction and renovation ongoing within the palace enhanced the looks of the two storey block formerly put together by the late Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Samuel Adedeji Adenle.
The museum kitchen where local delicacies could be savoured by tourists, students as well as stakeholders is a sure way to pump up revenue for government. Even private partnership is allowed to thrive within the buffer zone. The door is thrown wide open for interested private companies and individuals to make effective use of the buffer zone of the grove.
People from all walks of life troop to the grove on a daily basis for one thing or the other, spiritual consultation topping the list. The grove is lying fallow as a virgin area waiting to be tapped and made effective and judicious use of. Amid these glaring opportunities, we must reiterate one fact: that we must be awake to our social responsibilities that tourism has been and will remain a viable vehicle and a tool to move us forward and bail us out from the current economic recession. There must be collaborative efforts among stakeholders such as the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Arts and Culture, Nigerian Institute For Hospitality and Tourism and the National Commission For Museums and Monuments. They must remain proactive towards the growth and development of the grove. The ongoing renovation and restoration on the grove by the Adunni Olorisa Trust (AOT) must be commended. This will in no doubt go a long way in attracting more and more tourists to the grove.
A plethora of brisk businesses are explored during the Osun Osogbo festival. But the missing link is the coordinating factor among the stakeholders to form a proactive and business-oriented idea in order to effectively harness both the human and natural resources starring us in the face, year in year out. We need to have an economic equilibrium where stakeholders, especially the state and the local governments which are closer to the people, collaborate efficiently well in promoting tourism.
The usual frenzied atmosphere during the festival, where everybody belongs to none and God is for all, should be put behind us. The time to begin to approach issues proactively as strong and united stakeholders in the realm of tourism in Osun State is now!
Temitope wrote in from the National Museum, Osogbo.

FG Commences Process To Make Visa Issuance Easier

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday in Abuja reiterated call for a change in the nation’s visa administration to encourage tourists and investors.
The minister made the call when he received Jim Flannery, an international advisor to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNTWO.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the advisor was sent by UNWTO to assist in the review of Nigeria Tourism Master Plan.
The minister stressed that a new regime that allowed for easy access to visa for tourists and investors at point of entry was required for the tourism sector to grow.
He said he was glad that government had set up a committee on the ease of doing business which would look into it.
The minister also underscored the need for the nation to do away with bureaucracy and encourage full participation of the private sector in growing the tourism industry.
“We must begin to understand that tourism is the new oil that we have failed to discover and exploit.
“It is shocking that Nigeria with a population of about 170 million people and land mass of about one million sq km has only two world heritage sites.

“Whereas, Italy with population of about 50 million people has 51 world heritage sites.
“What that means is that people will not come to our country unless they see what they can be attracted to.
“That explains why France attracted 120 million tourists last year, while the whole of Africa attracted less than 50 million and why three out of five jobs in Italy, three are from the creative industry.
“This figure will show you the importance of tourism and Nigeria is the new tourists destination and we really need to work together to harness the potential in the industry,” he said.
The minister said he was glad to receive the UNWTO delegate whose coming was a fall out of his trip to the headquarters of the world tourism body in Madrid, Spain in July.
The minister recalled that during the visit, the UNWTO agreed to send an expert to help in the review of tourism master plan and to partner in revising the Presidential Council on Tourism.
He said the organisation also promised to assist in organising international conference with the theme; “Tourism as a Tool for Peace’’ in Maiduguri and train women on capacity building in tourism.
The minister urged members of the review committee to cooperate and work with Flanker for a successful review of the master plan.
He said in the course of his stay, Mr. Flannery would meet with major donors like World Bank and UNDP to exploit how they could assist the country in implementing the master plan.
Earlier, Mr. Flannery said the review of the master plan drafted about 10 years ago would not be a total jettison of the existing one.
“We are not here to write a new master plan, because we have a very expansive document before us that has never been implemented.
“This time, our attitude will be let us break it down to smaller steps and identify what can be done quickly to open new products and create new markets.’’
He said that unlike the manufacturing industry, tourism does not need special technical knowhow and huge investment to start.
He noted that tourism was a very viable industry that most countries were now realising and benefitting from and Nigeria would not regret the action taken to reposition the sector.

(NAN)