CULTURE AND TOURISM: THE WAY OUT OF LOOMING OIL CRISIS
Delivered at the Annual Legislative Debate organized by the Students’ Representative Council, Student Union, University of Ibadan in 2017.
Prize: Came first in the competition among five schools.
The global economy is sinking. Many countries are now growing from grace to grass as a result of the fall in the price of oil. According to the Vanguard Newspaper on the 3rd of January 2015, Nigeria is wailing and things are falling apart because her source of revenue now lacks value.
Venezuela is another perfect example. According to The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on July 5, 2016, 96% of Venezuela’s revenues are generated from crude oil. The proceeds are used to import almost all other products. Think about what the country is going through now since almost all her means of generating income have deteriorated.
Companies are not left out. According to Dailytrust Newspaper on the 2nd of March, 2016, plans to reduce the workforce in 2016 is now the priority of most oil companies. This is tantamount to making unemployment a priority. What then is the way out?
The English Anthropologist, E.B. Tylor defined culture as that complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of the society. Culture presents a unique monopoly that no economic situation can override; the inherited competitive edge that ever remains unmatched.
Our ancestral abilities in metal works, sculptures, paintings and jewellery can be immensely harnessed towards their unique and productive commercialization and industrialization. Ladies and gentlemen, every executable solution to the looming oil crisis is either direct or indirect employment of the knowledge, beliefs, law, custom and capabilities of a given people; their culture, their total way of life for you cannot give what you do not have.
Tourism according to the World Tourism Organisation comprises the activities of people travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one executable year for leisure, business and other purposes.
The Shenzen International Airport Terminal can only be found in China, the Eifel Tower can only be found in Paris, the Statue of Liberty can only be found in New York. Any other one is a counterfeit. Likewise, the famous terracotta heads of Ife, the bronze works of Benin, the great artworks of Igbo-Ukwu and the carved calabashes of the Hausa ethnic groups are peculiar treasures that can be favourably exploited by exhibiting them in a nationwide state of the art museums and promoting them to the rest of the world.
Furthermore, culture and tourism have proven to be the best way out of this same issue in some other countries. Dubai is a perfect example. Its economy was built on oil but now survives on tourism. According to nonquora.com, revenue from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 7% compared to tourism which serves as the major source of Dubai’s revenue. And as of January, this year it was reported by Business Insider that Dubai is the 12th most visited city of the world and the fastest-growing economy accommodating over 15million tourists.
Some might be of the opinion that instead of culture and tourism, why not agriculture, education or some other sectors? But let me quickly remind them of some countries like Singapore and Saudi Arabia. Singapore does not have an agricultural sector yet, according to CIA World Factbook, its economy was ranked as the most open in the world, suggesting it as a tourist centre, and has the third-highest per capita GDP in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity.
Besides, it must be noted that the diversification of the economy has been limited to culture and tourism. The Saudi Arabian President Prince Sultan Bin at an international Architectural Conservation Conference and Exhibition said that Saudi Arabia now has plans to diversify the economy instead of constant dependence on oil. And when later asked what he meant by diversifying, he said culture and tourism of course. This is also the trend in Qatar, one of the leading producers of oil in the world.
Oil was once the booster of the global economy, but sadly, it’s a non-renewable natural resource and is far from doing this again. The trending way this can be done is through culture and tourism which will save us from the dominant pride inherent in oil as a result of its looming prices.