By Our Reporter
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has restated the determination of the Federal Government to develop tourism to the point it could drive the national economy as is seen in other climes.
The Minister said this in Calabar, Tuesday, during a celebration to mark the 42nd edition of the World Tourism Day (WTD) which had the theme, ‘Rethinking Tourism,” and tagged Calabar 2022.
He said: “We are making significant efforts in developing tourism and giving the sector its pride of place as a recognised driver of the national economy.
“Tourism development is no longer a choice or a luxury. It is a necessity for development, diversification of the national economy and the creation of jobs. In addition, it is a tool for bridging the communication and cultural gaps and for disseminating the values of tolerance and openness.
“From this perspective, the tourism industry receives great emphasis in our national vision and strategy, which recognizes the importance and capacity of the tourism sector to play a vital role in supporting the national economy.”
Enumerating other benefits of the sector, the Minister said, “Tourism enriches the economy from different sources, contributes to government revenue through employment generation, promotes and strengthens local cultural initiatives through events and festivals and contributes to social services.”
Speaking on the importance of industries established by the Gov Ben Ayade-led administration, Alhaji Muhammed said, “I must commend Governor Ben Ayade for planting the seed for industrialization.
“The engine room of any economy in the world are the small and medium scale industries that will generate employment and encourage backward integration.”The Minister urged other state governors to emulate the industrialization policy of Cross River, adding,
“There is need for other governors to do peer review here and do what Cross River State government is doing in terms of setting up factories.
“It is a good initiative and we look forward to the near future where as Calabar Carnival becomes a global brand, Calachika, Cross River noodles and others will become an international brand which will be known as Nigeria brand.”
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of the State, Prof Ivara Esu, urged the Federal Government to stop paying lip service to the development of the sector, saying speeches and promises should henceforth be matched with visible actions.