In furtherance of the quest to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria, increasing the influx of tourists traffic into the country, Goge Africa founders – Isaac and Nneka Moses convened series 4 of the cross-sectoral collaboration for Tourism & Economic development. Present at the conference were tourism experts financial experts, and diplomats drawn from across the private and public sectors of the economy.
Mrs. Omotayo Omotosho (MFR), former DG, NTDC in her contribution took participants on an exploratory voyage for her time at the NTDC. Noting the need to foster public-private partnership towards the development of tourism, she observed that for tourism to flourish, there is a need for continuity of government policies. She further advocated for the synthesis of a private sector proposal with the government. Pointing out that a private sector relationship with government represents the development of tourism in the country.
Alexander Garrido, an expert in sustainable and adventure tourism proposed the development of a comprehensive tourism strategy. Citing the case of Brazil, he opined that the development of sustainable and adventure tourism in Nigeria, would require standardization and the deployment of safety measures in accordance with regulations of the international body. The implementation of these measures he said, will downplay safety concerns associated with tourist destinations, while maintaining these destinations and boosting tourism traffic.
Incorporating the cultural similarities between Nigeria and the South-American nation of Brazil, the Consul General of Brazil – Amb. Francisco Carlos S. Liz, rationalized that the fabrics of the Brazilian identity was knitted with elements of the African culture. Tracing Afro-Brazilian relations to the era of plantations which witnessed a surge in African presence in Brazil; he revealed that due to the existing cultural similarities, Brazil is ready to forge & facilitate partnerships with prospective corporate organizations and investors for enhanced economic and cultural relations which will consequently translate to sustainable development. He also informed the participants that having identified the existing cultural ties between Brazil and the Yoruba race, a collaboration is in place between the Ooni of Ife, the Brazilian Embassy and some states in Brazil to host a cultural exhibition featuring cultural artefacts of the Yoruba ethnic group. This exhibition he mentioned, will also be attended by distinguished sons and daughters of the Yoruba race including Nobel laurate, Wole Soyinka.
Drawing from his wealth of experience in the tourism industry, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye, founder – La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, took participants down memory lane. He emphasized that at inception, La campagne Tropicana started operations without the availability of the much touted ‘enabling environment’. He urged stakeholders to identify their comparative advantage and transform tourism potential into destinations. He stated that this transition from tourism resources to destinations, will attract tourists into the country, and awaken the government to their responsibility of creating an enabling environment which will subsequently drive economic development for residents in the destinations and entrepreneurs. Referring to the case of Antalya, Turkey and Lekki which is being transformed into a huge potential economic hub, he exemplified the responsibilities of the government to drive investment through incentives to tourism investors.
Cynthia Nwuka -Group Head, Creative Industry and the Bank of industry, commented on the funding opportunities available for tourism entrepreneurs. She stated that financial services provided by the bank to entrepreneurs range from 5-10 million with a repayment plan between 1-2years, and a 10% low interest. She however mentioned that the bank does not offer loans for building constructions. Emphasizing the strategic place of the creative enterprise which includes tourism, she remarked that the bank has a dedicated desk to monitor investment, growth and also offer advisory services to business owners. Highlighting the requirements needed to access these loans, she mentioned that interested business owners must be registered in the country, have a business plan, collateral and evidenced business flow capable of repaying the loan. After meeting these requirements, loan services will be made available to service providers in accordance with their business needs, since the loan is not given in cash to entrepreneurs. Conclusively, she gave a glimmer of hope to tourism practitioners as the bank will be interested in meeting with tourism experts to strategize on prospective financial services for the tourism industry.
What are your thoughts on this expansive discourse?