By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos, Aug. 21, 2020 The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has expressed concern over the under-utilisation of the Kainji National Park in New Bussa.
Chief Sam Alabi, Chairman, FTAN Board of Trustee, made this known at the 10th edition of Naija Seven Wonders webinar session on Friday in Lagos.
The virtual session was themed: “Where to Visit in Nigeria: Issues of Access and Security”.
Naija247news reports that Kainji National Park is a national park in between Niger and Kwara, established in 1978 and covering an area of about 5,341km².
The session was organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, organiser, AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market to expose nation’s tourism potential to the public.
Uko said that the road network to the Kainji National Park was in dilapidated state and this served as huge discouragement for tourists.
He said that the Kainji national park, along with others lacked basic infrastructure to keep it running to attract tourists and compete favourably with those in other Safari climes.
According to him, there ought to be tracking devises to trace animals, veterinary clinics, well furnished hotels within the parks and walking-talking gadgets for effective communication among staff.
He however, suggested that government should give grants to private companies to oversee the management of the parks and would be paid commission based on the percentage of tourists generated annually.
Alabi urged the federal government to consider importation of wildlife into the parks due to the huge number of wildlife lost to poaching activities.
”There is need to position more competent conservators in the national parks.
“Our national parks hold the key to future tourism development if properly managed and run like those in other safari countries such as Namibia and Kenya.
“Recent animal census reveals that wildlife is decreasing by the day due to activities of poachers, no good number of employees to run the parks and they are short staffed.
“There are lots of challenges accessing Kainji national park and no befitting hotels in each of the parks.
“These are absurdities and solutions must be proffered to ameliorate the shortcomings in the interest of the nation”.
Ukoh also urged the federal government to focus on proper management of the parks and take advantage of other attraction around the Kainji to fully spur tourism activities within the environ.
He said there was a study that revealed that the use of land for tourism investment has more than 10 times returns on investment than agriculture.
“The national parks in South Africa generates more money than land use for agriculture, the same with other places in the world, we need to develop and manage this space,” he said.
Uko commended 10 states in the country which had taken tourism development seriously.
”The states are: Oyo, Osun, Kebbi, Enugu, Plateau, Lagos, Cross River, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states,” the AKWAABA organiser said.
He urged others to emulate the recognised states and ensured that they contributed to tourism development in Nigeria.
Also, Mr Omololu Olumuyiwa, President, Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET) urged Oyo state to build an ultra modern resort around the Eleyele River, Ibadan to further attract tourists.
Olumuyiwa said that the river had been an amazing tourism site unknown to most fun seekers, including the Agodi garden where people could enjoy horse riding and all forms of fun.
“The National Museum of Unity is also a place to be, it has four sessions named: Yoruba, Aso-Ofi, Masquerade and Pottery sessions.
“This is a place where people can acquire education on the various masquerades in Oyo state, different Aso-Ofi and all,” he said.
The ANJET president said that activities going on at the Eleyele River such as boat regatta, swimming, fishing and all has changed the negative impression by Ibadan residents about rivers.
He advised Oyo state government to work on creating some other interesting activities around the river to attract more tourists there.
By Taiye Olayemi