To achieve a developed community where basic amenities will be available for all and sundry, ultimate attention needed to be directed towards our God given natural phenomenon that are capable of attracting the attention of tourists.
World economic melt down at different times in history has shown that taxes and mineral resources are not enough to sustain a nation, even with financial grants and excessive borrowing, sustainability for third world countries are becoming difficult, hence the need to focus on tourism as a viable source of income.
United State made $251,361,000,000.00 (Two hundred and fifty-one billion, three hundred and sixty-one million Dollars) from tourism in 2017. France made $69 Billion, Spain made $68 Billion, Dubai made $21 Billion, South Africa $9 Billion, Egypt $8 Billion and Nigeria made $2.5 Billion from tourism in 2017.
While the above financials shows the viability of tourism industry, it also shows that Nigeria is lagging behind other nations who may even have less attraction sites when compared to us. There is a need to change the narratives.
The time to change the cause of event is now and Oyo state will be at the fore front of the tourism awaking that is about to happen. This will happen on the condition that Oyo state government is ready as speculated and the indigene are also as motivated as ever.
Oyo state is blessed with Old Oyo park, Oke Ado Mountain and Iyake Lake in Ado-Awaye, Agodi Gardens parks, Alaafin’s Palace, Soun Palace, Sogidi lake in Awe, Mapo Hall, Nigeria Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS) Ogbomoso and many others. All lovers of development should wonder why we still rely solely on statutory allocation and revenue from tax.
Most countries who enjoys millions of dollars in revenue from tourism have less attraction sites when compared to Oyo state, it is only the determination of the leaders and the willingness of the followers that makes the difference. Both the Government and the good people of Oyo state have a role to play.
To achieve this, we need a total overhaul of Oyo State Bureau of Private Public Partnership (OP3) to suite the desires of every Oyo state citizens. The vision of Oyo state Bureau of Private Public Partnership is to promote the economic and industrial growth for sustainable development of the State.
It is obvious that no government can singlehandedly managed all elements of the economy, especially in our society where politics and nepotism thrive, it is therefore important to bring in the finances and the expertise of private individuals to ride on the formidable strength of the people (represented by the government) to achieve our common goal.
If an investor should take over the operation of Iyake lake in Ado Awaye and other natural attraction sights, it will rightly remain the property of the people, but will open doors of opportunities to numerous areas of our economy.
Our hotels will witness more patronage, our restaurants will sell more foods and drinks, our transporters will have enough passengers to carry, our indigenous product manufactures will have more customers.
More importantly, our tourism industry will reduce our unemployment rate by a wide margin, it will create indirect jobs in entertainment, hospitality, housing and we will experience influx of investment within the stores of Oyo state.
Both the government and private individual will always smile to the bank. Ordinarily individuals will be gainfully employed and tourism will take development to villages and rural areas.
All these fantasies can come to reality with just one step from two different set of individuals: to the Government; a provision of working Bureau of Public Private Partnership (OP3) and to the people: the willingness to invest or to propagate the good news about the goodness of the Pace Center.
I am Alabi Quadri Adetunji writing from Ijado, Ogbomoso.
Opinion writer, a student and advocate for Made in Oyo State