Mr Femi Lawson, a tourism destination marketer, on Sunday said proper harnessing of the nation’s tourism potential by Nigerian youths would liberate them from poverty and unemployment.
Lawson told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the tourism industry was still very fertile and craving to be tapped.
He advised the youth to preoccupy themselves with businesses around tourism value chain rather than contemplating leaving the richly endowed country for the western countries.
According to him, several Nigerian youths have ended their lives in the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert in the process of travelling to European countries in search of a means of livelihood.
He said that most of such youths were ignorant of most sectors in Nigeria which were still very fertile and could be developed for money-making.
” Nigeria has about 371 tribes and every state, community has an asset, there are ecological endowments, cultural activities, festivals, and foods that are peculiar to each tribe.
” These aspects of culture can be developed by the youth to make money, ” adding that several youths are doing it already and we still need more youths’ involvement.
He said, ” One can operate as a tour operator, travel agent, tour guide, caterer, disc jockey, night life operator.
“It takes a creative mind to be able to start these businesses on a small scale before enlarging it.”
He said that those who wanted to venture into tourism couldgo into: overland safaris, parks, game and gorilla viewing, deep sea, lake, river, and recreational fishing.
He listed others to include: archaeological tours, beach resorts, hotels, transportation-water, land and sea, surfing and snorkeling, theme parks and exposition centres.
” The little resources used to travel can be channelled to grooming a particular tourism business,” he said.
Lawson said that the international communities developed their economies over a long period of time before becoming the envy of most African countries.
He said that Nigerians must be committed to the growth of the nation.
” We must purge ourselves of the mindset to run away from the country in search of means of livelihood.”
He said that there were several potential waiting to be tapped in virtually all facet of our economy.
The marketer urged the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to create awareness among the youth on business ideas that could be developed along tourism value chain.
He said most youths were ignorant of the tourism potential that could yield means of livelihood for them.
” We need education in the area of tourism because there are lots of potential in it which the youth are not aware of.
” The NTDC can have awareness programmes in tertiary institutions and at community level to reorient the youths.
Such would discourage them from seeking greener pastures abroad, he said.