IGR: Tourism sector to generate N100b annual revenue in A’ Ibom– Ini Akpabio

By Isaac Job, Uyo

The Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Hotels Management and Tourism Board, Obong Ini Akpabio has said that the tourism sector in the state is capable of generating N100b as annual revenue if all factors are carefully coordinated to harness its potentials of the state.

Speaking with newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday, Akpabio listed enabling factors for such revenue breakthrough to include: Development of tourism sites across the state, review of existing laws to improve tourism operations and training of personnel on tourism management in the state.

He noted that every business success is predicated on effective management adding that the state Tourism Board has commenced discussions with Akwa Ibom state University to incorporate Hotels Management and Tourism-related courses to prepare personnel for the business to achieve expected revenue.

Akpabio a tourism expert disclosed that two bills on Tourism Heritage facilities and Revenue generation through tourism sent by the state House of Assembly to governor Udom Emmanuel were yet to be signed into law.

” We had two bills sent by the state House of Assembly now waiting for assent by governor Udom Emmanuel. Apart the bills, there are other laws.

” I have worked with Standard Organization of Nigeria which enables the federal government to regulate the tourism Industry.

“This regulation includes certification and grading of hotels to meet global standard.

Akpabio; a former Managing Director of Nanet Hotels who has managed over 50 hotels in Nigeria and abroad explained that if Akwa Ibom could host 1m tourists that spends N100,000 each in one year, it will translate to N8b per month and N100b in one year as revenue for the state government.

” The beauty of tourism is that it touches everybody in society. It is not like oil money where few people can benefit and can provide unparalleled employment. I’m saying this from both academic and practical senses.

” I have managed over 50 hotels in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom can become a tourist destination and when that happens, the state can be rich.

“Akwa Ibom will move from oil wealth to tourism wealth such as South Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. These countries have oil but they have become tourist destinations.”

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He observed that Qatar has gradually diversified its economy through tourism as it just hosted the world cup tournament which turned to sports tourism for the country adding that Akwa Ibom and the entire Nigeria can become a tourism hub.

” Qatar just hosted the world cup and that was sports tourism. Before now, they were concentrating on their oil and religious life but now they have graduated into tourism because they know that one day, oil will finish ”

He, therefore, advised the state government to continue to step up investment in tourism as an alternative to oil revenue as a sustainable income-generating sector warning that one-day the oil will dry up.

He charged the incoming administration in the state to consolidate the gains recorded by Governor Udom Emmanuel in the tourism sector by harnessing its potential for sustainable revenue.

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