The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, has urged Nigerian tour operators and the media to project positive news of the country in order to promote growth in all sectors of the national economy.
Ogunwusi made the plea on Friday night during the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators, held at his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The theme for the AGM was: “Impact of Culture, Partnership and Governance on Nigeria’s Tourism Development.”
According to Ogunwusi, every country has its challenges but these ought to be properly managed so they will not to affect its image.
He called on tour operators and the media to dwell more on the positive happenings in the country and jettison the negative ones in order to guard the nation’s image before the international community.
According to him, projecting negative image of the country would discourage investors and tourists from visiting the country.
Ogunwusi said: “Tourism is the way forward for our nation to showcase the strength of our diversity and richness in our culture.
“No country is perfect but people are meant to manage their imperfections.
“We must prevent the world from stigmatising our country as insecure.
“Johannesburg is the highest spot for crime rate in the world but no one will believe this because they have succeeded in sweeping that under the carpet.
“This, we Nigerians must imbibe too.
“Insecurity has been our major problem and I pray that God helps us to solve that.”
The monarch commended the media and tour operators for their relentless efforts in marketing the nation’s tourism destinations.
He urged Nigerians to engage more in exploring the nation’s tourism sites rather than spending huge sums to travel out of the country.
He said: “Everything we spend hugely to experience or explore in other nations are here in abundance and in their natural state.
“We should encourage ourselves to move around the nation as the biggest tourism achievement any country can have is the continuous growth in domestic tourism.
“Our beaches and many more tourist sites we have not explored; the richest coastal terrain in the world is here in Nigeria, in Ondo State, and no tourist spot is sited there yet.
“So we have a whole lot to explore and showcase for international recognition.”
Ogunwusi also expressed his willingness to partner with willing tourism firms and organisations in ensuring domestic tourism was well promoted.