A tourism expert, Dr Samuel Eremie has stated that tourists are scared of coming to Nigeria due to the insecurity that has bedevilled some parts of the nation.

Dr Eremie, on Sunday, in Abuja, decried the huge potential loss to the Nigerian tourism sector.

According to him, the tourism potentials of a country like Nigeria was quite huge, but unfortunately, it has become a missed opportunity as a result of insecurity which, he said, has scared tourists away.

“There is so much insecurity and even opportunities for tourism that used to abound in this country drawing people from different parts of the country and the world, appeared to have all disappeared mainly because of the insecurity we are facing.

“Nigeria could earn a lot of dollars from foreigners, if they had assurance of their safety, if they go out towards the Atlantic ocean with local fishermen and stayed in fishing villages, where these fishermen dwell.

“Nigeria could earn quite a lot from tourism, we saw that play out in places like Kenya, where communities will host tourists, they go to the village and share the lives and experiences of those villagers and they had money.

“This is why country’s like Kenya are promoting tourism, it is the second-largest foreign exchange earner of that country. If you don’t have security, nobody will be ready to spend his money in places that are not safe,” he said.

Eremie, who was a former Agricultural coordinator of the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), noted that some tourist attractions like Osun Osogbo and Obudu cattle ranch could not attract tourists due to insecurity.

He further said that if not for the support of international development partners, Nigeria’s agricultural drive could have been at the bottom.

The expert said that Nigeria may not be the best in terms of harnessing and managing its resources for agricultural development, but there was a need to stir up these sectors for the overall development of the country.

He called on Nigerian authorities to emulate India, which started small in its agricultural drive with the assistance of the World Bank, to strive hard for the development of its tourism and agricultural sectors.

Eremie noted that India quickly learnt a lesson to exploit its agricultural sector potentials to develop the country, adding that Nigeria must also learn lessons from the mistakes of the past.