The Managing Director of Transcorp, Mr Valentine Ozigbo has called on governments at all levels to encourage the growth of marketing destinations, which he noted, will do a lot in promoting tourism and aid the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Ozigbo said this while speaking as one of the panelists during the Institute of Directors' 2018 Tourism and Hospitality forum, with the theme, 'Domestic Tourism as a Catalyst to the Growth of Nigeria Economy,' that took place in Lagos.
Ozigbo who spoke on the challenges of the hospitality sector, emphasised the need to givehotels and tourism the enabling environment to help the sector thrive.
He, also called for the creation of a tourism ministry as well as to create the enabling environment for businesses to strive and survive.
According to Ozigbo," It will do us a lot of good as a country, if government lends the needed support to tourism and hospitality by encouraging marketing destinations," adding that "as practitioners we would also play our own role in encouraging marketing destinations."
"This is so because as at today, we have not fully tapped into the full potential of the tourism sector what we are doing is merely scratching the surface.
"It will interest us to know that the tourism sector is one of the greatest employer of labour in the world and its contribution to the economy is quite huge.
"Without a doubt, if the authorities with the collaborative effort of the private sector, effectively look in this direction, our fortunes will change for good," Ozigbo added.
According to him, "Government needs to consider tourism as an important ministry. There should be policies put in place to drive the development of the sector.
"Government has no function in doing business. They are not wired to do business. Government should create the enabling environment and get the businesses to survive and strive. This allows people make money and sustain their businesses.
"When this is done in a sustainable manner, you will see sporadic growth in the sector and other bottlenecks such as visas."
Tourism sector can contribute over 10 per cent to the economy. For the past eight years, we have done 1.5, 1.6 and 1.8 percent. The potentials we have in the sector can actually help contribute five percent."
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, IoD Tourism and Hospitality Committee, Biodun Jaji,urged the government and tourism stakeholders should pursue the sustainability and the growth of the sector, adding that there was need for a sustained public-private partnership and investment for the development of domestic tourism in the country over the next 10-20 years.