Father of Nigerian tourism, Chief Mike Amachree, has called on rich Nigerians and entrepreneurs to invest and develop tourist sites in rural areas. He said this would serve as an incentive to make Nigerians visit and explore the rural areas and also help grow the economy in rural areas.
Amachree made the call in his goodwill message to tourism professionals to mark the 2020 World Tourism Day, with the theme “Tourism and Rural Development.”
He congratulated all state governors and tourism professionals in the country on the auspicious day and also drew attention to the contributions of the tourism sector to the economic development of Nigeria.
Amachree, national president of the Centre for the Promotion of Peace, Tourism, Arts and Culture (CEPTAC), praised the efforts of five state governments, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Plateau and Cross River, that had in the early 1990s brought Nigerian tourism into the limelight.
The doyen of Nigerian tourism advised governors that tourism establishment and promotion was entirely a private sector affair, emphasising that government should not operate tourist sites. He said, where government comes was is in the provision of infrastructure, creating the enabling environment and financial support for the private sector to operate.
The CEPTAC president disclosed that his association was planning to tour the country to discuss with prominent traditional rulers whose stools were recognised before Nigeria’s independence on how to use a section of their palaces as tourist sites by displaying artworks, relics, and monuments and artifacts of their communities for tourists to view and appreciate as was done in the 1990s when the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria visited the palaces of King Jaja of Opobo, the Oba of Ikeja, the Emir of Kano, Gbong Gwom Jos, Obong of Calabar, and the Ataoja of Osogbo.
He also lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic had slow down the development of tourism in Nigeria.