Considering the several kilometers of coastline, untapped waterways, deep sea and other tourism potential that abound in the country, Nigeria is rethinking its aquatic tourism with the aim to make it more accessible, viable and alluring.
The emphasis is timely, especially now the country is looking to diversify from its crude oil-based economy to other non-oil revenues.
It is also in line with the theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Rethinking Tourism’, which is endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Following all these, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), the umbrella body of the tourism private sector, is leading in the effort to make the aquatic potential of the country count.
On that note, FTAN is hosting the Nigerian-leg of the World Tourism Day 2022 in Lagos, and particularly Takwa Bay Beach.
Speaking recently at Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos, at a media parley heralding the event scheduled for September 27, 2022, Nkereuwem Onung, national president, FTAN, said the untapped potential can generate revenue for the states along the coastline and Nigeria amid creation of job opportunities for Nigerian youths.
“It is time to show the world the business of tourism, we want to assess the water economy in Lagos State; we want people to see that lots of revenue can be generated on the waterways through tourism,” Onung said.
According to the FTAN president, in the next one year, the federation would be committed to promoting aquatic tourism across states along the coastline and ensuring that jobs are created through the sector.
“We are looking at how the government can look into that aspect of the economy, woo more investments, make the waterways safe and earn a lot of revenue from such effort”, he said.
Speaking on the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day, ‘Rethink Tourism’, Onung said it was time for the government and the private sector to channel a cause and promote the business of aquatic tourism.
“We have the right to express ourselves and create benchmarks that will help us see the improvement in the sector,” he said.
Reeling activities of the day’s celebration, Gani Balogun, founder, Tarzan Boats and chairman, 2022 World Tourism Day Planning Committee, said the celebration would afford visitors the opportunity to experience boat rides at the Takwa Bay Beach, venue of the celebration in Nigeria.
According to Balogun, who doubles as the president, Association of Tourists Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria, (ATBOWATON), Takwa Bay was chosen as the venue because of its minimal water waves and the neatness of the water.
He noted that apart from FTAN’s hosting of the biggest boat cruise in Nigeria, there are many exciting activities on the beach that day to thrill visitors, while assuring of security with the joint vigilance of the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police.
“We can also have boat cruises like those experienced in Florida and some other developed nations because we have all it takes, this is what we want to show to the world on September 27, during the World Tourism Day celebration”, Balogun said.
He urged Nigerians to make it a date to get educated on how revenue could be generated on the waterways, as experts would be engaged to talk briefly on the business aspect of aquatic tourism.
Meanwhile, Samuel Alabi, Board of Trustees chairman, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, will be leading the tourism private sector to a colourful outing that day.
“As BOT chairman of FTAN and a member of the state chapter of the federation, it is important that I lead the way. I will be there on Tuesday and use this opportunity to call upon all lovers of tourism to come out in great numbers”, Alabi said.