Hotelier calls for aggressive exploration of tourism potential to boost nation's GDP
An hotelier, Mr Ini Akpabio, on Tuesday called for aggressive exploration of Nigeria tourism potential to boost the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Akpabio, who is also the Group Managing Director, Nanet Hotel and Suites, Lagos, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said: ``The Federal Government has yet to see the need that tourism can take the position of oil. ``As a key player in the industry, I strongly believe that tourism can be used as an alternative to oil, if necessary measures are put in place. ``In 2014, tourism contributed 1. 7 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, while in South Africa, it contributed over 12 per cent of the GDP in the same period. ``In 2015, tourism in Nigeria contributed about N1.6 billion, which is about 1.8 per cent of the annual GDP. ``I think that is huge. When translated, about 800,000 jobs were created for people that work in hotels, travel agencies and airlines.’’ The hotelier said that tourism could be harnessed to contribute more than 12 per cent to the nation’s annual GDP. Akpabio said that tourism rebirth remained the only reliable means of repositioning the nation’s economy, adding ``a resilient economy can be built with proper harnessing of tourism potential.’’ He said that adequate measures should also be put in place for the protection of tourism and national monuments across the country. Akpabio then urged the Federal Government to do more to boost tourism in order to create more jobs, generate more revenue, alleviate poverty, boost foreign exchange earnings and attract investors. ``Nigerian music and film industry are also huge potential that can be harnessed and turned to tourist attraction. ``These sectors alone can be developed and turned into huge money spinner for the country,`` Akpabio said.