The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday called for a synergy between the tourism industry and the transportation sector for sustainable growth and development in the nation.
Mohammed made the call in Abuja at the opening of the National Tourism Transport Summit and Expo, which has the theme “Tourism and Transportation: The key sectors for Economic Diversification, Sustainable Growth and Development’’.
The minister, who was represented by Mrs Grace Gekpe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Culture, said tourism was all about transportation, hospitality and movement of people.
“The development of the transportation infrastructure and the use of new technologies will speed up the development of tourism in Nigeria and better transportation system.
“The present administration, under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, has invested massively in strengthening Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure to enable it contribute towards a competitive economy,’’ he said.
The minister, however, appealed for a strong partnership between the public and the private sectors so as to empower the people and improve internally-generated revenue.
He also called on all stakeholders, corporate organisations and foreign investors to assist in the development of the sector for wealth-creation, social economic empowerment and infrastructure development.
Also, in his address, the Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, said Nigeria was still left out of business not because there were no good beaches and beautiful island.
“It is all because there is no synergy between the tourism industry and the maritime industry,’’ he said.
Peterside said there can never be a full harnessing of all opportunities without a conducive maritime environment.
He then called for maritime infrastructure development, such as ports built with special architectural design to attact tourists.
“The consideration of any tourist while visiting any destination is security, cleanliness of the environment and intermodal connectivity.
“Statistics have shown that the travel and tourism industry was one of the world’s largest industries with global economic growth.
“Other countries, such as Dubai, used transport and tourism to diversify their economy,’’ the Director-General said.
He said it was imperative for all to realise that government alone can not do it, and private organisations and the citizens need to share responsibilities to achieve the desired goal.
Speaking also at the occasion, the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, said there was need for diversification.
“This will help to put the nation’s economy on the path of sustainable growth and development,’’ he said.
Idris noted that the tourism and transportation sectors are a growing segment of a modern economy, and the nation was blessed with the potentials needed to fully harness them.