The Federal Government has included the creative industry in its economic recovery and growth plan in order to underscore the political will to harness the immense potential of the sector for economic empowerment. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday in a paper he presented at the 2016 Nigerian Tourism Investment Forum and Exhibition, with the theme “TOURISM: A TOOL FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT.”
He said culture and tourism, a sub-sector in the creative industry, will play a significant role in the economic recovery plan following the crash in oil prices with debilitating effects on the nation’s economy.
“In this regard, there are two key initiatives. The first is the initiative to grow the tourism industry through a strong value proposition that include improved security to encourage domestic and international mobility, the review of existing tourism legislation to eliminate overlapping functions among agencies regulating the industry, the strengthening of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation through better funding and capacity building, the promotion of a national calendar of festivals, the launch of an awareness campaign within and outside Nigeria and the promotion of the building of world class hotels and conference centres.
“The second initiative is the need to support the creative industry as a whole. This involves encouraging the development of a special funding window for the industry, provision of incentives for private sector investment in the sector and the strengthening of intellectual property rights regime to make the protection of the intellectual property of Nigerian artists a matter of priority,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He said the Tourism Sub-sector has emerged as one of the key instruments for employment generation, poverty alleviation and sustainable human development worldwide and that the global trend should be enacted in the Nigerian experience, particularly in the face of dwindling resources from oil.
The minister observed that the tourism industry generally is assuming increasing importance in most countries of the world because of its many facets which serve as tools for economic recovery, diversification and development, especially in enhancing women’s economic opportunities, promotion of their effective control over resources and offering of safe spaces for women and girls to develop support networks and life skills.
“Also, for individual countries, the advantage of the tourism sector lies in its employment-creating potential and the challenge it presents for the enhancement of the quality of the environment. Through the development of the tourism sector, a country could become well placed to promote the development of its traditional cottage industries, tourist attractions and even the people’s life style and heritage, to the world at large,” he said.
The Minister said the Federal Government has placed priority on the development and maintenance of infrastructural facilities, human capital development, wealth creation and environmental stability as a deliberate effort to promote tourism in Nigeria.
“At present, the areas of investment opportunities with bright prospects for economic recovery and development abound in the country for investors to key into, although there is need for proper packaging of the tourism sites to attract international and local investors.
”It is with this motive in mind that I was prompted to embark on a visit to the UNWTO in Spain to seek for collaboration with the world body on meeting the competing needs within the Tourism, Hospitality and Culture Sector Industry. I must state that the outcome of the visit was tremendous, involving a package to send some experts to assist Nigeria in capacity building, policy review, tourism sites development and more expectations. The first of such experts is due to arrive in Abuja on December 5th, 2016,” he said.