Youths in Nigeria have been urged to embrace tourism as it is a big business. This is the unanimous summation of the totality of messages coming from the 8th edition of Youth Tourism and Hospitality Leaders Forum held today at Jogor Center, Ibadan even as speaker after speaker stimulated the audience on the prime place tourism would play in the social, cultural and economic life of the country in the coming years.
The event witnessed a full hall of young people from all walks of life, students from tertiary institutions, tourism practitioners, the academics and the media. Scholarly papers were presented by Dr. Raphael Alabi, Coordinator Tourism and Development Program, University of Ibadan and Mr. Ibraheem Kukoyi, Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
In his opening address, Mr. Omololu John Olumuyiwa, the Convener, charged the audience on the imperative of for the younger generation to wake up to the realities of great opportunities that abound in the tourism and hospitality industry.
“We now live in a global village in which the travel, tourism and hospitality industry daily assumes greater importance both as key economic industry, as it is today the greatest creator and employer of labour and catering as a major source of revenue earner for many countries”, Mr. Omololu explained.
“Tourism is big business,’ Mr. Jemi Alade asserted. Jemi Alade is one of the foremost and known tour operators within the industry who is in the forefront of stimulating and packaging inbound tourism for for audiences from in Asia and other countries into Nigeria. He is the Managing Director of Jemi-Alade Tours. “It’s gladdening to see that our youths are now jeering up in tourism. Yet there’s still so much to be done”, he explains.
“Tourism is taking what you have in your country, State or locality and packaging it for external audience. Let us open up our minds to know that tourism is about business. Don’t trivialize it”, he concludes.
Honorable Oladele, in his address revealed his passion toward driving the embracing of tourism among youths in the country, exclaiming that, “We are committed to doing more in the area of tourism and in sensitizing our teeming young people to embrace tourism which is a veritable opportunity for creating more jobs’. Represented by Pastor Segun Ilogbo, he went on to outline several programs he would hold in the coming months as he steers towards creating more awareness of tourism towards youths.
Dr. James Rapheal, on his remarks revealed that he has successfully “moved from doing tourism as a hobby and turned it into a profession”. “Many people see tourism as capital intensive; but I’m here to prove to you that it’s not”, he further exclaimed even as explained that Ibadan has many discovered tourism sites and several undiscovered.
“You might want to spend money travelling out of Ibadan for tours. But why don’t you start from the ones that are nearest to you’, he charged the audience.
Abiola Bakare Sales Manager, Kenya Airways, substantiated with his assertion that, “Tourism is serious business. But if you don’t have passion you can’t survive in tourism business.
“If you start tourism business today; if you don’t have the passion and training you may not excel in it. Academics needs to steer research in the industry. But the challenge is transforming the trainings in tourism into creating jobs.
“When we talk about inbound and outbound tourism, we need to stimulate our domestic tourism and the last few years we have started seeing growing focus on domestic tourism in this country. And we need to embrace it”, he maintained.
During the event, Mr. Kenneth Oudah, Drector of Studies for Stay Up Aviation Institute of Technology, Ibadan gave out 5 scholarships on the behalf of his institute.
Awards of distinction were presented to some distinguished gentlemen, among which are Mr. Jemi Alade, who received the award of Destination Nigeria Ambassador; Dr. Raphael Alabi, Tourism Educational Ambassador; Dr. Raphael James, Educational Tourism Ambassador; Barrister Bosun Oladele, Youth Tourism Empowerment Ambassador; Mr. Tope Ogbeni Awe, Tourism Journalism Achiever and Mr. Paschal Ogunkoya, who went home with the Youth Tourism Ambassador award.
source: By Renn Offor