Renowned art collector Prince Yemisi Shyllon has said that Nigeria is not tapping into its cultural assets well enough. “[It] is neglecting the importance of culture, creative economy and tourism…I have done the math: Nigeria has the potential to make $60bn annually from it’s art and culture.”
Shyllon, who is currently building a museum at the Pan Atlantic University, made this statement while speaking at the 1st Nigerian Knowledge for Development Partnership Roundtable, organised by Knowledge Hub Nigeria.
Making his argument further, Shyllon listed examples of countries that have reaped the benefits of tourism to include South Korea, Israel, Singapore and the United States. Most of the countries, he emphasised, have little or no natural resources.
“Israel, for example, is made up of 2% christians and 98% who profess Judaism, but it makes a lot from religious tourism,” Shyllon, who has visited over 60 vountries, said.
Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial and entertainment capital, is proof that this huge earnings are possible. In the last couple of years, the state has placed a lot of emphasis on growing the creative sector of its economy and, as a consequence, boosting its tourism receipts.
In 2018, the government revealed that the state earned N50bn from tourism related activities in December of the previous year.
Calabar, in Nigeria’s south-south region, is another model city that thrives on the economic potential of tourism, especially in December when it hosts its annual carnival, which pulls no less than one million tourists.