A Lagos-based tourism stakeholder, Mr Adetola Gabriel, on Friday described Nigeria as a land of tourism and not terrorism, as portrayed by some individuals in the country.
Gabriel, the Chief Executive Officer, ATGadventours, made the assertion in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
The tour operator, who also doubles as a wedding/lifestyle photographer, described insecurity and poor social infrastructure as major problems of tourism in Nigeria.
“Nigeria has great prospects when it comes to tourism. A country with diverse landscape, beautiful scenery and many destinations with historic significance should have a thriving tourism sector.
“Unfortunately, this is not the case and hence, insecurity such as robberies, kidnappings contribute to Nigeria’s problems in the tourism sector.
“We don’t know how we got to this mess, but I want to strongly believe that Nigeria is not a land of terrorism, but a land of tourism.
“As a tour operator based in Lagos, Nigeria, I must confess that one major factor affecting Nigerian tourism is insecurity and poor social infrastructure,” he said.
According to him, there must be good roads, regular power supply and potable water for tourism to thrive in any country.
“If the roads are bad, the movement will be hindered and kidnappers will have chances to operate peacefully.
“Besides, many of Nigeria’s popular tourist sites are located in rural areas that lack this basic infrastructure. The lack of such basic amenities will discourage potential tourists,” Gabriel said.
He noted that Nigerians usually look forward to visiting tourist attraction centres back in the days; but nowadays, insecurity and lack of maintenance culture had changed the narrative.
“Back in our primary and secondary school days, we all look forward to visiting tourist sites, as those special vacations seem to be the order of the day, and it excites us to learn more about sustainable developmental tourism; but none is the case now,” Gabriel.
He urged government at all levels to provide adequate infrastructure to help boost the tourism industry.
“I implore governments to provide the adequate infrastructure that supports tourism such as electricity, good road networks, seaports where necessary and a boost of the medical sector to make it more reliable for citizens and foreigners alike.
“Tackling security issues within the country and bringing crime to a minimal level will give a facelift to the country as a whole, especially in the eyes of prospective tourists from foreign countries,” he said.