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News - North Central - FCT Updated: April 20, 2024

Open Aso Rock for local, international tourists - Photographer urges FG

By Philip Adeboye
April 20, 2024
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Nigerian documentary photographer, Dayo Adedayo, trained in Britain, has called on the Federal Government to open up Aso Rock to both local and international tourists. 

Speaking at the 10th edition of the Wonders of Nigeria Expo in Lagos, Adedayo emphasized the potential for enlightenment and revenue generation by allowing access to the site.

Comparing Nigeria to the United Kingdom, he highlighted the opportunity for significant revenue generation similar to that derived from tourists visiting Buckingham Palace. 

According to News Agency of Nigeria, Adedayo pointed out that Aso Rock, as Nigeria's seat of power, boasts impressive structures, captivating landscapes, and lush vegetation, making it a promising source of income for the nation.

“It is time to learn from other nations, the story of Buckingham Palace comes to my mind. According to the United Kingdom Independent Newspaper of Saturday, May, 6, 2023, the Royal family in its annual report of 2019-2020, a record of 3,285,000 people visited the official residences, generating approximately £49,859,000.

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“Gift shop sales of the royal collection made £19,983,646 in a single year, making its total income of the year to be £71,526,000. While the average annual cost for UK taxpayers in royal upkeep comes to around £500 million in a year, Brand Finance estimates that the monarchy’s brand contributes £2.5 billion to the British economy in the same time frame.

“Nigeria can also generate as much huge revenue when we allow other nations and citizens to visit the Aso Rock while they pay for sightseeing,” he said.

Adedayo said imagery remains a powerful tool to promote tourism in Nigeria as it evolves emotions, sparks curiosity  and creates the desire to experience a destination first-hand.

He said imagery could be utilised effectively in tourism promotion through photographs of stunning landscapes, cultural experiences, landmark attractions, hospitality and accommodation, seasonal imagery, local wildlife and nature.

The documentary photographer, who exhibited 1,000 photographs of tourism sites across the nation, shared personal horrible experiences trying to take certain pictures for tourism promotion in Nigeria.

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“I was nearly shot in the State House, Abuja, when I was pointing the president’s resident to my friend’s children who came to Nigeria for the first time from Canada in 2010.

“I have been locked behind bars several times across the country for taking pictures and I have to pay so much to get out of trouble to bring you some of the pictures I am showing you today. Today, we can promote, explore and appreciate Nigeria’s culture where we are with the democratisation of photography through smartphones, you can post your pictures on social media and only God knows the length it goes,” he said.

Also speaking, organiser of Wonders of Nigeria Expo, Ikechi Uko, said photography and storytelling were the necessary tools needed to change the narratives in the tourism space.

Uko urged tourism operators to engage the tools in projecting the nation’s tourism endowments to the world, to attract tourists.

He advised the operators to ensure photographs used for marketing are properly authenticated.

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He also encouraged them to relay personal experiences at the sites through their social media pages and every avenue considered as storytelling.

“Photography and storytelling are the necessary tools needed to change the narratives in the tourism space but ensure you authenticate pictures before using it for tourism promotion,” he said.

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