Abubakar Suleiman, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Limited, has outlined critical factors essential for the growth of Nigeria’s tourism industry, emphasizing the need to improve infrastructure, promote positive narratives about the country, and foster advocacy by various stakeholders.
Suleiman shared these insights during Sterling Bank’s commemoration of World Tourism Day in Lagos, held under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments.”
He identified three main obstacles impeding the progress of Nigeria’s tourism sector. Firstly, he emphasized the necessity of ensuring that necessary amenities are readily accessible for individuals interested in traveling for tourism. Secondly, he underscored the importance of safeguarding tourists from any shortcomings while exposing them to the country’s inspiring aspects. Lastly, he highlighted the pivotal role of stakeholders in advocating for an enabling environment for the growth of the tourism industry.
Suleiman stated, “Portraying our homeland positively is a powerful tool, and highlighting its positive attributes will attract more tourists.”
Furthermore, Suleiman emphasized the importance of comprehensive discussions among trusted parties to curate the entire tourist journey, from their initial search for Nigeria on Google to their experiences at renowned destinations such as Nike Arts Gallery and Olumo Rock.
In addition to Suleiman’s perspectives, Mrs. Toke Benson, Commissioner of Tourism, Arts, and Culture in Lagos State, affirmed her commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to enhance the tourism sector in Lagos. She stressed the importance of showcasing Nigeria’s diverse tourist assets, expressing hope that Lagos would soon gain global recognition on platforms like CNN, highlighting its rich cultural heritage, music, people, and delicious cuisine.
Similarly, Rt. Hon. Adewale Egbedu, Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, reaffirmed the state government’s readiness to partner with the private sector to harness the full potential of its tourism industry. He highlighted Osun State’s status as home to some of Nigeria’s most captivating tourist sites, pledging to oversee the state’s major tourist destinations rigorously and collaborate with the private sector to achieve desired outcomes in the tourism and creative sectors.
Moreover, he encouraged private sector entities to engage with the legislature to establish relevant legal and institutional frameworks that would facilitate the execution of their ideas and initiatives, contributing to a better understanding of the societies and communities in which they operate.