- Yesterday, September 28, was the 2016 World Tourism Day
- The minister of information was in Lagos at the Eko Atlantic city to mark the day
- The minister assured Nigerians that Eko Atlantic city would drive Nigerian tourism
It would appear that despite the current economic recession in the country, the future of Nigeria remains bright as a 'new oil' which is tourism has been discovered.
While speaking at a ceremony to mark the 2016 World Tourism Day in Eko Atlantic, yesterday, September 28, Nigeria's minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed reassured Nigerians of the impact of tourism.
Lai Mohammed said the future of the country is assured as the country diversifies away from oil. Using the new Eko Atlantic city which was built on land reclaimed from Bar beach as an example, he said: "It takes an investor to have a great confidence in any economy before putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a city like this.
"Those who can see the bright stars in our horizon, beyond this temporary cloud of difficulties, are investing in the country even as we speak."
The minister also assured Nigerians that the Buhari-led government was working round the clock to pull Nigeria out of the recession. He said: "It is becoming increasingly clear, like President Muhammadu Buhari has admonished, that we must think out of the box.
"We must find other sustainable means of earning foreign exchange outside of oil, to grow our country’s GDP and create jobs for our people. Agriculture and mining are viable options, but tourism is the low hanging fruit in this regard, and we must not hesitate to pluck it."
He went on to explain that using Eko Atlantic City as the venue of the 2016 World Tourism Day celebration is significant.
He said: "While I will like to reiterate Nigeria’s readiness to explore and exploit tourism for the benefit of its economy, I can confidently add that Eko Atlantic City has what it takes to drive tourism in Nigeria.
"And this is just as well, because while the role of the government will be to provide the enabling environment, the private sector will drive the growth of tourism."
According to Vanguard, he called Eko Atlantic City 'a tourist haven' which has what it takes to drive tourism in Nigeria, saying: "The city will boast of 450,000 residents and 300,000 commuters (daily), which is a boon for the myriad of businesses to be located in the city.
"In addition, it will have a registered Free Economic Zone to encourage economic activities. As you are also aware, shopping malls attract tourists the way bees are attracted to honey.
"The shopping mall here in Eko Atlantic will be the largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 10 million square metres of space in the city will also boast of an impressive retail layout for shopping, vast amenities for entertainment, such as food courts, cinemas and playgrounds, an ample parking space and a canal that can be used for water transportation and water sports."
Meanwhile, Kemi Adeosun the Nigerian minister of finance, disclosed in her closing remarks at a two-day conference of National Council of Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Abeokuta that Nigeria was climbing out of the recession.
She said: "We are already getting out of recession because of the actions the Federal Government is taking, if you are in a problem, the day you start to step towards progression, you are already getting out of it.
"The government is investing more in capital than we have ever invested, we are sorting out infrastructures, we are stopping wastage and so the sign of recovery is already there."