Ajoku said that tourism was a very important economic component capable of strengthening the economy through foreign exchange earnings and taxation.
He reiterated the need for investment in tourism, stressing it was one of the important sources of employment generation and foreign exchange earnings.
Also, Shanghai records 3.73 million tourist visits during Dragon Boat Festival holiday.
The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN)
He recalled with dismay, comments credited to United Arab Emirate (UAE)’s ambassador to Nigeria, that more than 15 million Nigerians visited Dubai in 2018.
“Assuming, each of the tourists from Nigeria spent N500,000 on average, flight plus shopping. Total is N7.5 trillion, but ridiculously, Nigerian revenue for 2020 is just N4 trillion.
“If that amount of money is injected into the Nigerian economy, it will help in creation of wealth and jobs, and alleviate poverty, even insecurity,” Ajoku said.
The COSROPIN helmsman tasked the Ministry of tourism to design a master plan for development of various natural endowments of the country, like the confluence sight at Lokoja and others.
According to him, tourists help to increase the Gross Domestic Products (GDP), per person, and percentage point increase in the share of migrants in adult population increases GDP, thereby advancing the economy.
He emphasised the imperatives of investing heavily in tourism for economic diversification, and as a paradigm shift from over-concentration on oil and gas.
He expressed concerns over the continued fall in oil price, which could be inimical to countries like Nigeria, even as he called for concerted efforts in building a stronger tourist industry.
“Countries like UAE were deserts and less advanced, compared to Nigeria in the past, but today, their economy is in surplus through tourism.
“There is nothing UAE has that we do not have, we even have better natural endowments than them.”
Ajoku, however, called for a renewed commitment of all stakeholders in the development of demographic endowments for wealth and job creation.
He identified humility and nostalgia as lessons learnt from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, having compelled all to stay in Nigeria in spite of the socio-economic hardships.
NAN reports that the UAE envoy, Dr Fahad Taffaq, was quoted as saying that more than 15 million tourists were received in Dubai in 2018, and they were expecting more than 25 million by 2020.
SOURCE: PILOT NEWS