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Tourism Can Employ About One Million People, Stakeholders Reveals

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

Stakeholders in the tourism industry have noted that the sector if well harnessed could employ over one million people and develop the nation and the communities.

Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa noted that the state has set the pace in the tourism sector.

He said plans has been concluded to establish a world class tourism center in the state capital.

Okowa stated this Friday at the 2019 world tourism day celebration with the theme: "Tourism and Jobs: A Better Future For All", held at the Cenotaph, Asaba.

Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed said the world tourist day is used to foster and create awareness amongst communities.

The minister who was represented by the Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Cooperation, Mr. Forunsho Koka, revealed that the sector has employed over a million people.

He said no nation in the world over, grows without harnessing the sector.

In a Goodwill message, the Secretary-General, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mrs. Zurab Pololikashvili, said tourism could help us build a better future for all.

Represented by the Director, Human Resources Management, Federal Ministry of Information, Mr. Sunday Ewa, hinted that the tourism sector is the leading source of employment.

She stressed that the sector supports many millions of jobs and driving economies forward, stating that it remains a catalyst for equality and inclusivity.

"In many places, tourism employment gives women, young people and those living in rural communities the chance to support themselves and their families and to integrate more fully into wider society.

"The true potential of tourism, both as a creator of the jobs and as a driver of equality and sustainable development, is only just being realized, providing decent work opportunities and contributing to developing professional skills are at the heart of this.

"Well managed, the continued growth of our sector will encompass countless opportunities and allow tourism to live up to its global social responsibility to leave Monday one behind".

She argued that no one single economic, social or human activity prospers in isolation, pointing out that governments and stakeholders from the public and private sectors are working together to manage tourism in a responsible and sustainable manner and to ensure its enormous potential is properly realized.

She said tourism is leading the way in providing workers with the skills and knowledge they need for the job in the future, "embracing this creative spirit, including through effective collaboration with partners in the technology sector and in academia, will drive the creation of more and better jobs".

Earlier, in his welcome address, the state Commissioner, Directorate of Culture and Tourism, Sir. Lawrence Chukwuma Ejiofor, hinted that the event is to raise awareness on tourism's actual and potential contributions to the sustainable development of Nations and communities.

He said tourism creates direct and indirect employment which requires varying skilled and unskilled labour, "which facilitates easy and quick entry into the labour force for youths, women and less privileged".

According to him, it therefore believed that developing tourism is directly linked to community development, "we should consciously focus our attention on developing soft skills among the local populace for them to benefit from this all important phenomenon in our communities".

He however maintained that in the process of tourism do and job creation, we should be mindful that our development strategies, actions and activities are sustainable in order for them not to impact negatively on our environment so as to conserve our nation's scarce resources and preserve our cultural heritage for future generations.