By Obinna Amaobi, Abuja
The Director-General Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Joseph Ari, on Monday, said forecast has shown that Nigeria would be earning N12 billion from the tourism sector by the year 2028, and the industry will create over 100 million jobs for the citizenry.
He also said the tourism industry has become an important economic earner for many countries, even outstripping mineral resources in terms of its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that the tourism sector contributes 30% to the GDP of Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Botswana; but sadly Nigeria at the moment is lagging behind.
Ari further stated that because of the huge potentials the ITF has identified in tourism, the agency is set to establish a training institute in tourism, which will be located in Lagos, with a campus at its headquarters in Jos.
The ITF Director General, who was also chairman of the occasion, disclosed this while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Jos 2019 Trade Fair, at the Polo field in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.
“The tourism industry has become an important income earner for many economies across the globe and in some cases, it has outstripped mineral resources in terms of its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“In Africa, there are ready examples in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Botswana. In some of the countries mentioned, the tourism industry contributes over 30% to the GDP. Similarly, countries like France, United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Spain rely on earnings from their booming tourism markets.
“Although as at present, Nigeria is lagging behind in current tourism rankings, but forecasts suggest that by 2028, Nigeria would be earning about 12bn from the tourism industry that would create over 100 million jobs.
“In the event of this happening, I believe that Plateau State will be the greatest beneficiary in view of our comparative advantage clement weather, absorbing rock formations, magnificent waterfalls and other tourist landmarks that have made Plateau State the Home of Peace and Tourism”, he maintained.
According to him, “For tourism to thrive on the Plateau, the citizens must equally be skilled in some of the trades like travel agency, hospitality management, tour guides, catering and event management, leisure activity coordination and, concierge amongst others that attract tourism.
“Similarly, the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) generally, and the Plateau State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PLACCIMA) specifically, must focus attention on areas that would boost the tourism sector of the Nigerian economy and attract foreign investors and tourists,” he stressed