Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum (3rd left) with members of the Women in Business and Tourism Society Nigeria (WIBAT) during a courtesy visit to the minister.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that Tourism has an important role to play in the economic diversification drive of the present administration.
The Minister said this when a delegation of Women in Business and Tourism Society Nigeria (WIBAT Nigeria) led by its National President paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Amb. Katagum said: “Tourism has an important role to play as the nation diversifies from oil and I still feel there is a huge gap in the sector. There is a lot to be done in tourism development.
“As Nigeria joins the rest of African, countries for trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), tourism is very key to Nigeria”.
She emphasized that indeed tourism is the new oil because Nigeria has a lot of cultural heritage to showcase to the world.
The Minister of State commended the WIBAT Nigeria for its foresight in identifying economic opportunities that abound in the tourism sub-sector and urged the association to seek collaborations with relevant organizations and stakeholders in the sector, including the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture among others.
Amb. Katagum further said that women in their various geographical locations should explore and see tourism as a serious business with the potential to boost the economic growth of Nigeria.
The Minister of State reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal government to support Nigerian women in their various fields of endeavors.
She therefore advised the group to officially write to the Ministry on areas of possible collaboration.
Earlier, the National President of WIBAT Nigeria, Mrs. Sophia Khan who led the delegation to the Minister, said the group was at the Ministry to brief the Minister on its visions and mandate as well as seek areas of possible collaboration.
Khan explained that WIBAT Nigeria was conceived to promote domestic tourism by developing, promoting and marketing tourism centers in Nigeria.
According to Khan, “As Nigeria seeks economic diversification from oil, its tourism potential is a goldmine that can serve as appropriate alternative, if properly harnessed. There is no State in Nigeria that does not have a mind-blowing tourism destination and tourism is the new oil”.
She said: “We therefore urge both the Federal, State and Local Governments to take tourism as a serious business opportunity that can create job and boost GDP. We at WIBAT Nigeria promote our culture, tourism and generate income from the entire value chain”.
“As an organization, we encourage women to go into business, secure access to finance and enable them create value in the tourism value chain.”
The National President said that cultural tourism, religion tourism and hospitality were among the bright potentials the nation’s tourism ecosystem offers.