Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tourism potentials source of foreign earnings

The MD Virgin Nigeria, Capt Dapo Olumide, has expressed the belief that tapping into the nation’s huge tourism potentials could be a major source of foreign earnings to the nation.

Olumide spoke today (10th June) in Lagos while receiving the Chairman, Tourism and Culture Committee of the House of Representatives, Hon. Kanayo G.B. Oguakwa.

According to him, “I believe that tourism can be a huge revenue earner in addition to oil, but that can only happen if well exploited. In the next ten years, with the price of oil falling steadily, I foresee tourism taking center stage in revenue earning projections.”

He noted in particular that the nation’s dependence on oil revenue earning, could be given a much needed boost if adequate energy and resources are plunged into exploiting the tourism sector.

Capt Olumide explained that a strong synergy exists between tourism and the aviation sector, explaining that available statistics show an inter-relationship in the support of travel destinations, as one aviation personnel promotes 10 jobs in the hotel sub sector of tourism.

“Nigeria tourism is a gold mine, from the Obudu Cattle Ranch to the Coal mines and slave trade routes across the country. We seriously need to develop the sector. Virgin Nigeria had on the onset of the Calabar Festival supported it, as well as the Argungu Fishing Festival; our flights helped develop that festival as a travel destination.

Hon. Oguakwu had earlier stressed the need for an improved synergy between air transport and tourism, agreeing that Virgin Nigeria had in the past four years integrated the various domestic and international tourism opportunities. He called for greater private and public sector collaboration in driving the message of the huge potential in the tourism sector.

Hon. Oguakwu also noted that the certification of Virgin Nigeria on the IOSA listing in just two years of its operation was a demonstration of the fact that it is a top of the range airline.

He further remarked that the de-branding of the Airline in the coming months would afford the airline and Nigerians the opportunity to reflect the proudly Nigerian track record of the company.