Nigeria is looking to diversify its economy away from oil. The federal government plans to build Eko Atlantic City as part of the diversification process.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said Eko Atlantic City will become a tourist heaven in the country. The minister made these remarks on World Tourism Day, held annually on September 27.
The city is being built on reclaimed land. According to Mohammad:
“The city will boast of 450,000 residents and 300,000 commuters (daily), which is a boon for the myriad of businesses to be located in the city. In addition, it will have a registered Free Economic Zone to encourage economic activities. As you are also aware, shopping malls attract tourists the way bees are attracted to honey. The shopping mall here in Eko Atlantic will be the largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 10 million square meters of space in the city will also boast of an impressive retail layout for shopping, vast amenities for entertainment, such as food courts, cinemas and playgrounds, an ample parking space and a canal that can be used for water transportation and water sports
Nigerians who are looking for relaxation spots and exquisite shopping malls will no longer need to jet to Dubai and similar destinations, because Eko Atlantic City will be a better destination than Dubai. This is not a joke! Whereas you can only comfortably soaking the sights and sounds of Dubai for a maximum of four months every year due to the prevailing inclement weather there, Eko Atlantic City offers – in addition to the massive shopping mall – 365 days of sunshine and clement weather. This is an added incentive for foreign tourists.
In short, the city will have everything you need for tourism to thrive: security, modern infrastructure, good weather, uninterrupted power supply, potable water supply, etc.,” he said.
The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day celebration – is Tourism for all: Promoting Universal Accessibility and the minister explained that Eko Atlantic City would be one of Nigeria’s top tourist destinations which would be accessible to all: “the rich and the poor, the young and the old as well as men and women”.
Quoting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis, the Minister said the new city would also not discriminate against the aged and the physically challenged.
Mohammad appealed to investors to cash in on the federal government’s massive investment in infrastructural development to help turn the country’s numerous tourist sites to tourist attractions.
On April 14, 2016 Thisday Newspaper reported that Nigeria can Generate 2bn American Dollars as revenue from tourism. Also on July 6, 2015 investigation by Leadership Newspaper revealed fresh facts that Nigeria loses over seven hundred billion naira (N700 billion) to tourism annually due to poor management of tourist destinations, heritage sites and monuments across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Day has been held annually on September 27 for the last quarter of a century, to foster awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic impact.