The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, on Wednesday said that no fewer than 5,000 youths were currently being trained to develop tourism potential in Ile-Ife and make them financially independent.
The Ooni of Ife, represented by Oba Adebanjo Adenini, Asoja of Isoja in Ife Kingdom, disclosed this during the 2019 Tourism Innovations and Development Advantage (TIDA) conference.
The theme of the conference is: “Impact of Sustainable Tourism Development and Marketing of Tourism Destinations on Host Communities” held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos.
Ogunwusi said that this was embarked on due to his passion for tourism development in the country and to ensure tourism has positive impact on community members.
“Two years ago, I built the Ife Grand Resort, thereby creating over 2,000 jobs.
“I am currently training 5,000 youths in Ile-Ife on embracing tourism businesses to make a good number of youths self reliant and independent.
“The training started in January and it will last six months to complete.
“With all the innovations in my mind, nothing is impossible to achieve, I am fully ready to listen to the youth.
“I have plans to lead a committee to the Federal Government to discuss how to empower the youth and focus on how more foreigners can visit Nigeria.
“I am proud to be associated with this beautiful initiative from Skyview Communications, I am proud of TIDA and will be willing to embrace more of its initiative,” he said.
Dr Wanle Akinboboye, Managing Director, La Campagne Tropicana Resort, urged Nigerians to groom tourism potential within their local communities.
He said this would have great impact on the community members, boost the economy of the community and the country at large.
According to him, this will also raise the standard of living for women in the communities, reduce conflict, crime rate, menace of area boys.
He said that it would also improve financial independence, exposure to different cultures and attract more investors.
“Our major problem in Africa is that we are only interested in grooming that sector of our economy which yields immediate gain.
“Tourism must be developed because it provides viable solutions to many of the economic challenges we face today.
“We must know that petroleum which we have given so much attention to over the years is a bye product of tourism and tourism is the fastest growing sector in the world.
“I want us all to take seriously the growth of tourism potential in our local communities, just like La Campagne Tropicana was developed.
“This will enable us solve a lot of problems among us,” he said.
Mr Femi Lawson, the organiser of TIDA conference, said the conference was all about promoting the value chains of local tourism ranging from historical, cultural, to eco tourism and more.
He said at the end of the programme, more investors would have been encouraged to embrace the grooming of nation’s tourism potential as huge revenue could be generated from such.
“We encourage people to take position in the tourism value chain because tourism is sustainable while oil which we rely so much on is exhaustible.”
Mrs Annette Ibe, South-West Director, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), urged Nigerians to travel within the country rather than going out for leisure.
She said Nigeria was well endowed with beautiful sites more than what was obtainable in other parts of the world.