The World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27th every year to raise awareness globally on the importance of tourism in worth, value and cultural input. Tourism is not only economically beneficial to countries but is a very effective tool for social improvement and integration. It is also necessary for sustaining and celebrating our world heritage as humans. This further entrenches the spirit of international solidarity among nations of the world.
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This year’s celebration is unique because there’s an agreement that multiple countries in the United Nations would host it. The chosen countries are from the MERCOSUR member states (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, with Chile acting as an associate member).
The purpose of this year’s theme, Tourism and Rural Development, is to bring awareness to the fact that most of the people living in rural areas struggle more with poverty. It is meant to show how tourism could help create employment and how it can raise their standard of living by driving development in those regions.
Most of our tourist attractions here in Nigeria are actually in rural areas. In fact, Yankari Game reserve and the beach resorts in Lagos are among the most developed tourist destinations in Nigeria.
With many popular tourist attractions in the city, the rural areas are easily forgotten. But thank God for recent discoveries of tourist attractions like the Mkar Hill in Benue or Arinta Waterfall in Ekiti. The more people discover these hidden treasures in rural areas, the more resources, both public and private, can be channelled into those areas.
When people in the rural area see the influx of visitors, the opportunity to market food, clothing, drinking water or souvenir items increases. Some may even offer their services as local tour guides and earn a minor change. Thus, it’s a way to create jobs for the people living in those rural areas and by extension, it reduces city migrations.
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Thanks to the travel restrictions, Nigerians are forced to focus more on domestic tourism. There isn’t a better time to look inward. We need to plan how both public and private investors can develop our rural tour destinations. It will help the recovery of the tourism sector and increase our internally generated revenue. This way, when international tourism resumes, we will be ready to use it to change the dynamics of our inbound tourism.
So how do you want to do to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day? Some tours slated for the period include Naidrenaline’s Escape The City Coastal Walks in Lagos N10,000/person and hiking the amazing Usuma Lake with Fruity Tours for N500/person in Abuja. Both events are on September 26th. If celebrating on the 26th or 27th isn’t convenient, Independence Day is also around the corner.
But if going on tours is not your thing, ask yourself, ‘What can I do to make the tourist destinations in my community more attractive?’ You could volunteer to clean up a beach or river, clear a path to a waterfall or cave, or rescue a rare animal species from bush meat poachers. Whatever you do, make sure you mark the World Tourism Day in a way that can help bring development to a rural community near you.
Featured Image Source: Time Bulletin
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