A tourism expert, Mr Darlington Okpebholo, on Saturday urged the Federal Government to invest more in culture, tourism and entertainment due to their revenue-generating potential for the country.
Okpebholo, the African Coordinator, African Festival of Arts and Culture (AfrikFest), Las Vegas, U.S., said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
NAN reports that the AfrikFest is culled from African Festival.
The goal is to have the rich heritage of Africans in the U.S., and nations in Africa to come together under a united umbrella to showcase the beauty of the African culture through the socio-economic, political and entertainment branding of Africa.
Okpebholo said that the Federal Government should concentrate on culture, tourism and entertainment because apart from giving relaxation and memorable experiences, it could also make more money from them.
The AfrikFest African coordinator, however, advised the government not to pay lip service in the development of the sector.
According to him, the Federal Government can create more than one million jobs in the culture and tourism sector, when developed.
“Look at the huge revenue the Calabar Carnival is bringing to the state. It is like all the states around that region has started having one carnival or the other because they have seen what Calabar is making.
“The other day, we watched Imo State doing their carnival, Akwa Ibom and Rivers also did their own and pulled the crowd to the event.
“If such is moved to the federal level, it will amaze you the huge revenue it will generate for the government and enjoyment for the people,’’ Opkebholo said.
He said that the African Festival of Arts and Culture coming up in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April had already provided more than 500,000 jobs for young Africans.
“Imagine if we are government and doing this festival periodically. It is possible for the government to create jobs in the sector. It is just for them to be serious.’’
On the upcoming 2018 AfrikFest, 5,000 participants are expected to showcase African and Nigerian culture, arts and crafts.
He stressed that it was an African cultural event aimed at changing the negative narrative being circulated about Africa and Africans.
“We want to showcase our culture and tell the world our stories from our perspective and not the lies the western media platforms are circulating about us.
“There will be a diverse cultural exhibition from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Uganda and other African countries.”
“During the event, some governors, captains of industry, outstanding parliamentarians and opinion leaders from Nigeria and other African countries will be given awards in different categories,’’ Okpebholo disclosed.