Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), says culture is the new revenue driving sector which can serve as an alternative to the oil sector in Nigeria.
Runsewe said this while speaking at the official opening of the 13th edition of Akwaaba Travel and Tourism Fair in Lagos on Sunday.
Declaring the three-day event opened, Runsewe maintained that culture was a viable alternative revenue generating sector that could help to boost the economy.
“Nigeria is rich in cultural content and has a lot to offer to international tourists.
” Jollof rice is also part of our cultural brand that we can sell to the international world, ” he said.
He said that Dubai was the next point of call where he would take Nigerian Commissioners and other government officials to see the tourism and cultural development in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“In 2014, I traveled with several Commissioners and tourism officials in Nigeria to South Africa to see tourism development in the country.
” Nigeria can do better in our culture and tourism sector development than other Africa countries, ” he said.
Runsewe, who drummed up support for Akwaaba Tourism Fair, promised to continually support such initiative in the country.
“Dubai, South Africa and other tourism developing countries thrive due to their government support.
“The Federal Government is ready to support any private sector initiative on tourism and culture development in Nigeria and internationally, ” he said.
Mr Adewale Ashimi, the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said that the government was happy that the event was being hosted in Lagos State.
Ashimi said that the government would continually provide enabling environment for culture and tourism to thrive.
He said that this year’s event was being hosted at the right time when the government was showing real commitment to tourism development in the state.
“Lagos State Government will provide infrastructure that will enable tourism to thrive in the city.
” Government will also continue its support of tourism initiative that will attract tourists into the state. Lagos State is safe for both local and international tourists, ” he said.
Ashimi further said that the ministry would organise a city tour for local and international tourists/visitors that attended these year’s Akwaaba event.
Earlier, Mr Ikechi Uko, the organiser of Akwaaba Travel and Tourism Fair, expressed his appreciation to the people that made the event successful.
He said that the idea of the fair was to bring the world to Africa.
“We need to do something for Africa in Africa. It is a means of creating proper product for west Africa brand.
” Jollof rice is part of the brand that can be sold to international tourists, ” he said.
He said that Nigeria and Ghana would be competing in Jollof rice cooking and the best would be announced at the end of the event on Sept. 12.
“It is not a competition like that but a means of showcasing to the world what West Africans have to offer, ” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the culinary event is aimed at promoting culinary tourism by showcasing the best of West Africa to an international audience.
The tourism event will be hosting Chefs from Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria to compete for jollof rice challenge.
These activities were created purposely to bring out the best in West Africa in terms of rice production and promoting the outlook of culinary tourism and local delicacies to foreigners, thereby promoting indigenous hospitality and style.
The three-day event will also feature Travel 100 Women award as part of Akwaaba Women in Tourism initiative.