Abiola Lawal is an experienced senior manager in multiple industries ranging from Energy, Power, Aviation, Technology and Financial Industries. He worked in broad segment of the Energy value chain from – Upstream to Downstream. He also worked in several aspects of the aviation industry in the United States covering air and ground transfer, logistics, ticketing and general airline operations. In this interview with WOLE SHADARE, he spoke about his passion for travel and reason for flyboku.com. Excerpts
The Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo at the weekend disclosed that tourism contributed four percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015. She equally urged the country to look beyond oil and see tourism as money spinner and its backbone in this period of plummeting oil price.
Mbanefo made the disclosure at the unveiling of flyboku.com, an e-commerce travel platform of Ashton and Dave Travel and Holiday Limited. She endorsed the project because of the ease of making her job in NTDC better enhanced.
Not a few said Nigeria does not have an accurate record of tourism contribution to GDP, as they lamented that the sector does not generate anything close to the tourism earnings in South Africa and Dubai, even with almost 500 tourist sites and attractions in the country.
She noted that, if Nigeria must take a place in the committee of great nations, it cannot but begin to make intentional efforts to source revenue outside of oil, hinting that one major area where Nigeria could muster some financial strength is the tourism industry.
The federal government has restated its commitment to diversifying the nation’s revenue base, with a plan to prepare the tourism sector to generate
The NTDC chief in statistics she reeled out said in 2013, 4.3 million tourists visited Nigeria, adding that this figure was enhanced by the religious activities of Prophet T.B Joshua. She said the figure rose to 4.8 million in 2014.
She disclosed that tourism contributed 11 per cent to Kenya’s GDP; Egypt 12 per cent despite instability in that country; Cuba moved from six per cent to 11 per cent.
Experts believe that the tourism industry offers the opportunity to lessen the country’s dependence on oil revenue, if properly harnessed.
At the present level the industry annual revenue is about N100 billion. The important roles of the tourism sector as the main instrument in socio-economic development of any nation can be overstated.
Although some of the tourist centres in Nigeria are not well developed to promote socio-economic development.
However, Nigeria’s tourism sector is still operating below capacity even as tourism becomes the fastest growth industry globally.
The tourism industry is a powerful driver of the economic train of the nations. The industry generates over $ 1 trillion per annum in direct earnings. Moreover the lack of adequate empirical data has hindered policy makers and other stakeholders on the viability of most of the existing tourism destinations in Nigeria.
The NTDC chief further disclosed that the government has created tourism board to fund tourism infrastructure.
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