The Federal Government has initiated the process of selling Nigeria’s local tourism potentials, particularly the Argungu fishing festival, to global tourism investors.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Wednesday at the opening of the 2020 International Tourism Trade Fair (Fitur) in Madrid, Spain.
Speaking at the Ifema trade fair centre of Madrid, where the event holds annually, the minister said Nigeria had already aligned its tourism vision to the development of rural tourism.
He said: “We are shifting attention to rural tourism and that is why we are encouraging palace museums and museums in places of worship.
“This is because at the end of the day, those in rural areas are the owners of the cultural sites and tangible assets.”
Mohammed said the theme of Fitur 2020, which centered on development of rural tourism, was in line with the vision of the country for the sector.
He said there was a conscious effort across the world to redirect the efforts on tourism development to rural areas.
The minister also disclosed that after about 10 years it was placed on hold, the Argungu fishing festival would hold this year.
He said the ministry was making conscious efforts to attract global investors for the festival because of its uniqueness.
He said: “All we are waiting for is to formally inform the President that the stage is set for the festival to hold in March or April
“The festival is unique globally because we are not just talking about fishing but about a festival that encompasses the aspects of life of the people.
“The festival embedded traditional wrestling Durbars and competitions among different age groups
“It is also unique in the sense that it is the only festival known in the world today that fishing is done through the traditional method of using the hands to catch the fishes.”
The Argungu fishing festival held in Kebbi State is one of Nigeria’s internationally recognised tourism attractions.
But unfortunately, it has not been held since the last edition in 2009, posing a huge revenue loss to the local economy and the entire country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the five-day tourism trade fair being attended by about 10,487 exhibitors from 165 countries and 253,490 visitors, was declared open by the Spanish monarch, King Felipe VI.
Fitur, one of the biggest tourism fairs worldwide attracts participants mainly consisting of stakeholders in the tourism industry such as travel agencies and tourism associations.
The fair is considered a global communication platform that develops future strategies to promote the tourism business and most importantly, gateway to the Latin American market.