Stakeholders in the tour
ism industry in Nigeria converged last week in Port Harcourt for the pre-opening facility tour of the Museum of African History and Culture, and Zoo located in the Brooklyn Tourist Centre, Rumuosi near the University of Port Harcourt.
The complex is the brain child of one of the leading tourism practitioners in the country, Alabo Mike Amachree, the former President of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN).
The Museum has history of top Manarchs who has left indelible marks in the history of Nigeria.
After being taken round the complex to see the zoo and the museum, the practitioners also visited the chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Majesty Dandeson Douglas Jaja, the Amayanabo of Opobo.
Amachree described tourism as a major economic activity which generates income and also creates employment for the people.
He said for a country or state to attract tourists of local and international status, there was the need for such infrastructures and super structures capable of attracting tourists to be put in place in addition to the tourists attractions.
According to him, it was on that basis that the practitioners visited the monarch to make suggestions on how the state could build its tourism profile so as to attract tourist.
The former ATPN President stated that Rivers State with international airport, seaport and network of roads, and the petroleum industry, has comparative advantage over other states in the country for tourists’ inflow.
He noted that Rivers State was the first state in Nigeria to establish a tourist site known as Isaka Holiday Resort in 1967 by the first Military Governor of the Old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff while he (Amachree) established the second one called Port Harcourt Tourist Beach.
“It is also n record that my association the ATPN organized the first Abuja carnival under my leadership in 1991 as well as the second Rivers State Cultural and Musical Carnival tagged RIVCAM 93”, he said.
He remarked that tourism was not about building hotels and organizing carnival, but that emphasise should be laid on developing high class tourist sites and museums where our history, cultural relics, artifacts and monuments would be permanently exhibited for admiration of visiting tourists.
“The tour operators would then market the sites and bring in visitors”, he said adding that development and promotion of tourism is entirely a private sector affair while government provides enabling environment.
He said traditional rulers, as custodians of culture, history and tradition should be assisted by the government to equip their palaces with relics and artifacts to promote tourism in various communities.
Amachree charged private investors and the government to open up rural areas by establishing private tourists sites which would create more jobs.
Responding the Amayanabo of Opobo praised Amachree for his consistency in efforts towards developing tourism in the country and expressed excitement at the new museum of African History and Culture.
He noted that if tourism is developed to its full potentials, oil would take a back seat and promised to take the message to the government.