The Federal Government has challenged the states to see tourism beyond leisure and entertainment but as boost for local economy and tools for poverty reduction such that would aid needed development across regions in the country.
It explained that with what was been earned by other states in some foreign country, particularly Dubai and other known tourists attraction states, states across Nigeria could exploit the sector as means of economic diversification that aid their independence from reliance to the central government.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who gave this advice on Monday in Birnin-Kebbi at the 2021 World Tourism Day celebrations, said that if harnessed, the tourism sector could transform the economy of many states and ensure gender equality.
Addressing a joint news conference with the Kebbi State Deputy Governor, retired Col. Samaila Dabai, during the 2021 World Tourism Day with the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth’’, Mohammed noted that the states should take cue from Kebbi which had a lot to offer the world and a lot of stories to tell in tourism development.
According to him, this is well demonstrated in Kebbi State, given the fact that the tourism sector in the state revolves around components such as culture, agriculture and sports, among others.
“In the areas of culture and sports, the annual Argungu International Fishing festival, the Durbar, traditional wrestling and camel racing, among others, have over the years proven to be viable sources of economic growth. They have also contributed in the area of job creation and empowerment, especially for the women and youth.
“Kebbi State is known for its industrial growth, especially in the areas of rice mills and tomato factories which employ a lot of women as farm staff (80 per cent), out growers (30 per cent) and factory staff (10 per cent). All these underscore the state’s efforts and capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he said.
The minister commended the Kebbi state Governor, Sen Abubakar Bagudu for his commitment to tourism development, adding that his decision to restart tourism in the state by accepting to host the 2021 World Tourism Day following the roll-out of the vaccine and the lifting of restrictions on COVID-19 pandemic was motivating.
On his part, the Deputy Governor said that he was delighted that Kebbi was chosen to host the 2021 world tourism day, noting that the state had distinguished itself as a one-stop-shop for tourism and culture by hosting many festivals that yearly attracts numerous tourists from within and outside the country.