Former President John Dramani Mahama has said that the outbreak of the Ebola virus in three West African countries affected tourism in several other West African countries.
Mr Mahama noted that “when Ebola struck recently in three of our sister countries in the sub-region, it affected tourism arrivals in all our countries”.
He explained that this was because “when the international media reports the news, they show a map of Africa, and outline West Africa with an arrow ostensibly pointing to these countries”.
To this end, Mr Mahama who delivered an address at the Lagos State Tourism Summit 2018, called for collaboration especially between Ghana and Nigeria “on all fronts, especially security and the protection of our people”.
Mr Mahama further urged tourism authorities in Nigeria to form a strong partnership with their counterparts in Ghana to develop comprehensive tourism packages that will make the two countries the destination for tourists in Africa.
“Should Accra and Lagos have tourist attractions of same quality, there should be greater collaborative packages for tourists. Accra is just 45 minutes away from Lagos, and just as tour packages take people to London, Paris and another European countries, an Accra-Lagos joint package should be possible,” he observed.
For him, a boost in tourism “calls for greater inter-dependence among our countries”.
He highlighted the need for tourists to be able to travel to safe locations, adding: “When they hear of instability or insecurity in any of our neighbouring countries, they consider it West Africa, and will be enough reason for them not to book flights to Nigeria”.
He was of the view that “Lagos, just as Nigeria generally, has such great cultural value that can easily be packaged and even exported. The impressive showing during the Lagos at 50 celebrations show that it is possible, and can be done,” he concluded.