Some tourism stakeholders, including journalists, on Friday called on the Federal Government to ensure provision of adequate accommodation facilities to attract more tourists to Argungu lnternational Fishing Festival.
The stakeholders, who spoke during the Naija Seven Wonders webinar in Lagos, noted that provision of adequate accommodation would help to promote and market Argungu festival as a tourists destination.
The webinar, with the theme, “Where to visit in Nigeria: Issues of Access and Security”, was organised by Ikechi Uko, Organiser, AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market.
Some stakeholders who witnessed the recent Argungu fishing festival said that inadequate hotel facilities around the venue to cater for guests was a major disincentive for tourists.
Okorie Uguru, a tourism writer with Nation newspaper, said that for a festival with such rich cultural content, spanning decades, there ought to be adequate accommodation for both local and international tourists.
Uguru said the federal government should work seriously with other hospitality stakeholders ahead of next edition of the festival to ensure adequate accommodation facilities around the venue.
“With my years of experience in the tourism industry, I can categorically say that the Argungu International Fishing Festival is a standard product from Nigeria.
“There had been no problems with security, the only flaw observed was lack of accommodation facilities for guests; FG must begin to prepare for the next edition now, by making provision for accommodation.
“The mind blowing sites tourists can visit within the country are the Ojukwu Bunker, War Museum both in Umuahia, Seriki Abas Slave Museum and the Lush Sandy Coconut Beach in Badagry and more,” he said.
Also, Wale Olapade of the Nigerian Tribune, said the last edition of Argungu festival pulled much crowd than the host town could cater for, urging the federal government to make neccesssary preparations ahead of the next edition in 2021.
He suggested that small chalets could be constructed around the town of Argungu, while security is beefed up for tourists’ safety.
“The sight of over 50,000 fishermen in the water at a time is great to behold at Argungu fishing festival,” he said.
Olapade urged Nigerians to undertake domestic tourism by visiting highly fascinating sites like the Ado-Awaye Hanging Lake in Oyo State, Bower’s Towers in Ibadan where one could view the four corners of Ibadan metropolis at a glance.
“I will also advise tourists to visit Irefin Palace – one of the oldest palaces; Jos Museum with very rich history of architecture and the Kiriji War Site in Osun.
Also, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), urged Nigerians to explore domestic tourism.
Among places open for tourists are the Confluence of River Niger and Benue located in Lokoja and Mount Party in Kogi state which were quite exciting sites, she said.
“The Awhum Waterfall in Enugu is another site which can compete with any natural waterfall in the world,” she said.
Mrs Bilikisu Abdul, President, National Association of Tour Operators, also spoke on the beauty of Zuma Rock, Osborne Lake and Usuma Dam in Abuja, as well as Farin Ruwa located in Nasarawa State. (NAN)