- Regrets the sector has suffered undue neglect
The Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has said that the tourism sector has the capacity to compete favourably with the oil sector in revenue generation for the nation if given the attention it deserves.
Okorocha also said that the tourism and culture aspects of the nation’s life have suffered undue neglect for quite a long time and noted that, such ugly development had denied the nation the huge revenue that would have been generated from those sectors.
In a statement by Sam Onwuemeodo, Special Adviser (media) to the former governor, Okorocha who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism spoke when he met with stakeholders in the sectors at the weekend, at the Senate Committee room, National Assembly, Abuja. He further stated that, outside agriculture, tourism and culture should be the highest employers of labour in the country.
“The Nigerian government at this time is committed to the transformation of the tourism industry into the nation’s new oil. The tourism sector has the potential to compete with crude oil in generating revenue for Nigeria.
“Outside agriculture, the highest employer of labour should be tourism. But its contribution to our Gross Domestic Product is too meagre and it is unacceptable. Today, destiny has brought on my shoulder and my colleagues’ the task of steering the ship. Our mission is to revive it.
“As part of our plans to make the tourism sector very productive, I have discussed with the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Musa Bello, on the possibility of acquiring expansive land for the promotion of leisure. And I call on the Chief Executive officers of the parastatals in the tourism sector for cooperation in moving the sector forward.
“This is not my area of expertise. I would have loved to be the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education. But I will do my best. Working together, we shall give the nation the best that will meet the aspirations of Nigerians”.
In his speech, the Director-General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, Segun Runsewe, decried the neglect of the tourism sector by successive administrations, adding that the sector could make a lot of difference in revenue-generation if only it could be put to work.
He urged the Senate to show serious concern to the indiscriminate issuance of the nation’s international passport, adding that some of those being nabbed abroad for heinous crimes were not Nigerians.