Experts at the 2016 National Summit on Culture and Tourism have recommended ways to reposition the sector to achieve the needed benefits.They made the recommendations during a plenary session in the summit in Abuja.
Mr Bertram Azuwike, the Director of Macro-economy and Statistics Department of National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) said there was need to develop a data bank for the culture and tourism industry.
He added that “culture and tourism data bank will help to show the significance of tourism’s economic contribution to national income.
“This will give the industry greater respect from both government officials and the public, apart from enabling policy makers to measure the impact of past policies and projects, thus helping them to know the extent to which the set objectives were attained, stressing that Culture and tourism will not go far without a data bank,’’ Azuwike stressed.
Similarly, Chief Tomi Akingbogun, the President of Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), said it was through the private sector that government could make money.
He noted that if the proper things were not put in place to make business excel, culture and tourism business would not attain its intended position and benefits.
“Tourism has impact on employment and the economy; we have many tourism potential and if we cannot tap them, we will go nowhere.
“If 20 states in the country are doing well in tourism, it will have multiplier effects on the economy; the Calabar Carnival had effects on hotels, farmers and
“If the carnival is done three times in a month and in 20 states of the federation in a year; imagine the number of people it will empower.”
The FTAN president said that the private sector was interested in driving the economy and to make it work.
He, however, added that it was regrettable that it took a long time for tourism investors to get approval from government, stressing that is why we keep talking yearly without progress.’’
Akingbogun recommended the establishment of a Tourism Bank to facilitate access to funds by investors “instead of waiting for budgeted monies from the ministry to carry out projects.”
He said that taxation on hospitality industry, including the recent tariff increase by power sector investors was killing the industry.
Hotels are shutting down in Abuja; Transcorp Hilton recently complained that its electricity tariff increased by N25 million monthly.
With such increment and other exorbitant levies, how do you expect them and other hotels to expand,’’ he asked.
Akingbogun said there was need to develop tourism clusters, reactivate the Presidential Committee on Tourism and implement the Nigerian Tourism Map.
He also recommended effective leadership at the tourism parastatals, tourism vouchers and the inclusion of domestic tourism in education curriculum of schools across the country.
Another expert, Prof. Sule Bello, said “culture is about what we learn and how we put it into practice.”
Bello said museums in the country were being taken for granted, adding that “museums are the source of our history and ways of life.’’
He said that the Ministry of Information and Culture should extend hands of cooperation to countries like Ghana, Kenya, The Gambia and others.
`Nigerian arts and painting should be placed at strategic areas at the National Assembly, the presidential villa and entry points of the Federal Capital Territory.
Government should have its museums in other countries of the world; this will go a long way to portray the country’s history to others.
Cultural history of the country should be taught from primary school to university level across the country,’’ he said.
Speaking in same vein, another expert, Mr Wale Akinboboye, observed that “when the Europeans came to Africa, they were fascinated by our rich cultural heritage and they referred to us as `Cultural People’’.