The Ajia Balogun Olubadan, Chief Adegboyega Adegoke, has urged governments at all levels to diversify into hospitality and tourism sector so as to improve the economic growth and development of the country.

This is just as he also implored governments to show more commitment in improving the sector in order to tap inherent benefits from it, urging that there is an urgent need for them to develop the nation’s huge hospitalty and tourism potentials for economic development.

He made the call at the weekend while speaking with journalists during the commissioning of his new hospitality edifice, Channel 8 Premium Hotel, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The hotel was commissioned by a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Other dignitaries in attendance at the commissioning included: former Senate Leader and Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Teslim Folarin, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoenia, and the wife of the late strong man of Ibadan politics, Alhaja Bose Adelabu.

Others were: former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Adeolu Adeleke, Barrister Lowo Obisesan, Yinka Taiwo, Hon Gbade Oduola, Mogaji Jelili Adanla, Alhaji Lukman Gbadamosi, Primate Olasoji Bakare, Chief Wale Aribi, Hon Kehinde Subair, Hon Murphy Adigun, Mogaji Aboderin, Hon Bimbo Adepoju among others.

Adegoke, who is the Executive Director, OES Energy Services Limited and its subsidiaries, while describing hospitality and tourism as goldmine waiting to be tapped, insisted that it is high time governments diversified from petroleum to hospitality and tourism, which is the sole source of economy of some great nations.

He said, “The commissioning of this hospitality edifice is a demonstration of what we are preaching. I am into oil and gas, but this is to demonstrate that we are serious about diversification, and that’s what we are doing today.

“So, governments at all levels should explore all the hospitality and tourism potentials for economic development and growth.

“Hospitality and tourism is a multifaceted and multidimensional activity. It is not just about fun, it is business and government should look at the business aspect. It makes more money than most other industries.

“Saudi Arabia has more oil than Nigeria, but what Saudi gets from ‘religious tourism’ is unquantifiable. I have been to China, there is a place call Old City where their Emperor used to stay, they have turned it around and they make huge money from it, also Dubai’s economy depend on hospitality and these countries are doing better than Nigeria.

“I want us to join hands to improve and invest in hospitality and tourism because oil is finishing. Nigeria is rich in tourism and this sector can yield good return on investment.

“Every state should develop it’s hospitality, tourism and culture, rather than wait for stipend from federal government, they can actually make lots of money from those sectors. Every local government area you go in Nigeria, particularly in Oyo State, there is an investible hospitality and tourism potential, they are consumed at source.

“Those sites, like hills, historical structures and other natural habitat cannot be moved to other location, putting hospitality office into areas will boost economy of those areas and the local communities will always benefit if the potentials are well tapped.

“It is the only viable alternative to oil and government should place more priority on hospitality, tourism and culture.

“Many countries, which Nigeria is even more endowed than, are earning immense benefits from hospitality and tourism. Nigeria is so endowed in that sector, looking at the cultural diversity and the natural environment.’’

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