Hospitality investor tasks FG on rehabilitation of historical sites, to enhance tourism

Lagos – Mr Ini Akpabio, a hospitality investor, on Sunday called on the Federal Government to give a facelift to historical sites in the country, to enable them to be able to attract tourists.
Akpabio, the Group Managing Director of Nanet Group, made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said that uplifting the status of the sites would help in repositioning the tourism sector in the country and also boost its foreign exchange earnings.
Akpabio said that Nigeria was blessed with numerous historical sites that could be improved, to boost tourism revenues and create new jobs.
He mentioned some of the sites as the Ibeno Beach, the Obudu Mountain Resort, the Tinapa Free Zone & Resort and the Osun-Osogbo Grove.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Others, according to him, are the Queen Amina Wall, the Oke-Idanre Hills, the Ogbunike Caves, the Nana Living History Museum, the New Afrika Shrine and the Kainji National Park.
“The Tourism Sector is capable of generating billions of Naira for the nation.
“The industry is also the second largest employer of labour globally; it is capable of employing millions of people and alleviating poverty,’’ Akpabio said.
He said that it had become important that government should refurbish abandoned historical monuments, hotels, as well as tourism sites across the country, to boost earnings from the sector.
“This was because there are lots of abandoned government hotels, monuments and tourism sites that are no longer in good condition.
“This is because the country is blessed with enormous tourism and hospitality assets,’’ he said.
Akpabio said that the present government did not need to spend money in establishing new tourism sites or monuments, but to reactivate the abandoned ones.
He urged the government to take the sector seriously because there were lots of opportunities in it that the governments were not fully aware of.
“The sector has helped many countries like Kenya, South Africa, Gambia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, France, Germany, Brazil, the UK and the U.S. to grow their economies.
“It is a sector that can help to draw the attention of tourists, visitors and investors to a country to learn about its culture, increase its foreign exchange earnings, as well as its overall economy,’’ he told NAN.
Akpabio, however, appealed to government to appoint professionals into public offices, “as they will be in the forefront to design a good road map for the development of the sector.
“The downward trend witnessed in some sectors of the Nigerian economy are mainly as a result of having non-technocrats in key government positions, particularly in the tourism sector.
“Most people appointed into leadership positions are not professionals or experts in such sectors usually given to them to manage.
He said that the industry was capable of being used to diversify the economy, as an alternative to oil.
The hospitality investor, however, urged government to partner and give incentives to the private sector, to enable it to support the re-development of tourism in the country. (NAN)

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