World Tourism Day: Tourism Can’t Achieve Its Potentials WithoutSustainability – Minister

Image result for The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Yemisi Izuora

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
that sustainability is absolutely necessary if tourism is to achieve
its full potentials, which include being a catalyst for economic
growth and poverty eradication.

In a statement issued in London to mark the 2017 World
Tourism Day, the Minister said without sustainability, tourism cannot
generate benefits to all stakeholders, solve serious problems such as
extreme poverty, and preserve precious natural and man-made resources
on which human prosperity is based.

Referring to the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, which is
‘Sustainable Tourism – Tool for Development’, he said Member States of
the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are encouraged to make sure
that their policies and actions for tourism development and management
fully embrace the principles of sustainability.

”The sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic
and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable
balance must be established among these three dimensions to guarantee
its long-term sustainability,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said that in the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations General
Assembly designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable
Tourism for Development, underscoring its power to help eradicate
poverty.

”Tourism was singled out in three of the 17 Sustainable Development
Goals of sustainable economic growth and decent employment,
sustainable production and consumption, and the conservation and
sustainable use of oceans (Goals 8,12 & 14).

”Today, tourism generates 10% of the world’s GDP, one in every 10
jobs, and 30% of world trade in services. It is key to many countries’
economies and livelihoods. It has evolved from an industry engaged in
and patronized only by the rich and elites of the society, to an
industry enjoyed by all with significant impact on the nation’s
economy.

”As an invisible export, tourism creates a flow of foreign currency
into the economy of a nation through public revenue which comes in the
form of taxes, duties, licenses etc; business revenue derived from
services provided by restaurants, hotels, transport, shops etc and
from local resident revenue which come in the form of wages, salaries,
rent, interests in investments. Most of these revenues especially
those that accrue to the business establishments and the local
residents are usually ploughed back into the economy to create
additional business thereby generating grater revenues and increasing
employment opportunities,” the Minister said.

He said while Government will play its part in the development and
management of tourism and in making it more sustainable, the real key
to making Nigeria’s tourism industry flourish lies with the industry
itself and the businesses and organizations at its heart.

”Governments use a number of mechanisms to encourage greater
private-sector engagement, capturing its expertise in ways that will
be beneficial to the companies themselves as well as population. The
private sector, on the other hand, has an opportunity to work
collaboratively with government to yield unprecedented returns in both
economic and human capital, and fulfilling the promise of a more
equitable, productive, and prosperous global community,” Alhaji
Mohammed said.

Overall, he said, sustainable tourism requires the informed
participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong
political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus
building.

The idea of World Tourism Day was initiated by a Nigerian, late Mr.
Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, the then Secretary General of the Nigeria
Tourism Association (NTA), now Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation
(NTDC), and Chairman of Africa Travel Commission (ATC). It was adopted
at the 22nd General Assembly of the International Union of Official
Travel Organizations (IUOTO) in 1971.

The 27th of September of every year is marked as the World Tourism Day to
create awareness for tourism as a tool for economic growth and promotion of international peace and understanding.

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