President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Gbenga Olowo, told journalists in Lagos on Tuesday that combining both sectors could help to accelerate Nigeria’s exit from recession.
According to him, aviation has had its fair share of the dwindling economic situation in 2016, and a lot needs to be done to maximise its potential.
“Like every sector of the economy, things have not been good in terms of economic performance.
“Load factor has gone down, fewer passengers now travel and of course, we have less air cargo.
“We are a consumer nation and cargo wants to come in but there is no money to buy it.
“So the aviation industry has its own fair share of the recession, Olowo said.
He said Nigeria must make good use of its available resources to diversify its economy.
“I believe combining tourism and aviation will make money for us as a nation faster than any other sector with very little input.
“For instance, most of our states have beautiful bridges and roads, they have functional street lights and traffic lights, and our policemen are getting more civilised.
“These indices are in place and they are good enough for tourism,” Olowo said.
He said all that was needed was to re-orientate the Nigerian people and the media to highlight the positive factors that the country had.
“We must be more receptive to visitors to the country, and it should be right from the airport by our security agencies.
“We must begin to package Nigeria as a tourist location. Our food is good, our hotels are nice, and our people are warm.
“As a nation, in addition to agriculture and all the efforts the government is making, we must drive tourism, and aviation is the number one linkage.
“Aviation is key and we should try and complete Bi-lateral Air Service Agreements with countries we don’t have with and encourage our airlines to put flights to those places and link us with them,” Olowo said.
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