Adebayo Adedeji, Chief Executive Officer, Wakanow, has urged travel and tourism stakeholders in the country to engage themselves in politics to influence government policies in the tourism sector.
Adedeji made the call on Tuesday during the 18th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market held in Lagos.
He spoke on the theme: “Can Lagos become a Global Travel Destination of Choice?”
According to him, policies hindering the growth of tourism and travels in Nigeria can only be tackled when practitioners in the industry engage in politics with the main aim of reshaping those policies.
He said it was high time the practitioners elected leaders that are truly interested in the growth of the nation and most especially, the tourism and travels industries.
“It is time to take part in politics, take time to understand local politics, elect the right leaders that will make the right laws that will affect the industry positively,” he said.
Adedeji commended efforts made by the Lagos State Government in creating enabling environment for tourism and travel businesses to thrive.
He said that the state could only do better in becoming  a global travel destination of choice when the right policies are in place to drive the sector.
He urged Nigerians generally to desist from the habit of hatred toward the nation and individuals.
He said instead of this, people should be creative in establishing formidable structures they could generate revenue.
He said another way the tourism and travels industries could grow was in the area of partnership, advising practitioners to work on partnering  to achieve common goals of advancing the sectors.
“We should not hate ourselves or the nation, rather, we should take bold steps in creating formidable business structures individually or through partnerships.
“Opportunities abound in this nation, there are over a million business opportunities if we take our time to be creative,” he said.
Also, Dayo Adedayo, a British-trained Nigerian documentary photographer, cultural anthropologist and author, said “Nigeria remains the most difficult nation to photograph due to policies that are not favourable to the growth of the industry.”
He advised Nigerians to always give back to their society by telling positive stories of the nation which would go a long way in positioning the country in better image before the international community.
According to him, this was important because of the younger generation.
Mr Danny Kioupouroglou, General Manager, Eko Hotels  and Suites, who acknowledged how creative Nigerians are,  said there was need for Nigerians to improve on packaging their businesses well to attract tourists.
“Content creation for me is extremely important, we are very creative but we don’t package well,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Ikechi Uko, Organiser of AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market, commended Lagos State’s effort in erecting world-class infrastructure currently aiding the growth of tourism businesses in the state.
Uko noted that with such improvement in infrastructure, Lagos  could possibly take over as the global travel destination of choice.
“Lagos State has built more infrastructure in the last five years, compared to other 51 African countries,  this is commendable,” he said. (NAN)

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