Mr Ini Akpabio, the Group Managing Director of Nanet Hotel and Suites, has advised the Federal and state governments to organise festivals and carnivals regularly to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Akpabio said in Abuja on Sunday that festivals and carnivals are veritable sources of boosting the revenue of the nation.
“Calabar carnival is a good example. Millions of local and international tourists visit the state annually thereby increasing its foreign exchange earnings and generating billions of naira to its economy,” he said.
He added that most countries’ economies survive through their tourism, culture and hospitality industries
He listed such countries to include Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Brazil, France, Saudi Arabia, Ghana and Rwanda.
“Most of these countries believe in the tourism sector and they build upon it for survival.
“Local and International visitors and tourists visit most of these countries to learn about their culture, experience their carnivals and festivals,” he said.
According to him, if all these countries can depend and survive on their tourism sectors, Nigeria can also revive its dwindling economy through the sector.
“Nigeria has enormous tourism potentials that can be developed to boost its IGR and festivals, hospitality, culture and carnivals are some of the potential,” he said.
He applauded the Cross River State government for initiating the Calabar Carnival, adding that revenues generated from the carnival have boosted its IGR and created employment opportunities.
He commended the state government for being able to sustain the carnival for over 12 years.
“The Cross River State Government rakes in billions of naira annually through the carnival.
“The communities and neighbours also benefitted from the carnival as tourists and visitors patronise their hotels, small scale business owners, tour operators, eateries, commercial bus operators and tourism practitioners during the carnival,” he said.
Akpabio said that if such carnivals can be organised in the six geo-political zones across the country, it will boost government’s IGR, and create employment opportunities for their citizens.
He applauded the Lagos State Government for hosting street carnivals, festivals and other tourism-related events to boost the sector.