A food tourist, Mr Opeyemi Famakin, on Sunday in Lagos, said that exporting Nigerian cuisines would boost the nation’s tourism sector and increase its foreign exchange earnings.
Famakin during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the country was endowed with a wealth of fabulous recipes that needed to be put on the world map.
“It is time the government regulates and support food tourism, so that the world will get to know Nigerian cuisines.
“Nigerian foods like ofe nsala, amala, pounded yam, tuwo shinkafa, edikaikong, and a lot more dishes need to be popularised and put on the world map. If we do this, much respect will be given to Nigerian foods,” he said.
According to Famakin, there is a high demand for Nigerian cuisines across the world.
“People love jollof rice made in Nigeria and they think we own it. But, Jollof rice actually belongs to Senegal.
“Other African countries like Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa are already on the world map and people travel to these countries just to eat their foods.
“If you go round, you will see so many Chinese and Lebanese restaurants in Nigeria. So, what stops us from doing same in these countries.
“Countries are exporting their cuisines across the world, it is time for Nigerian dishes to be advertised and made popular too.
“Nigeria can become a tourist destination if our local foods and drinks are export to the international market,” he said.
He also urged state governments, individuals, and stakeholders to play their roles in promoting food tourism in the country.
Famakin urged state governments to make efforts to attract tourism to their states by publicising food sections on their websites.
“Restaurants have a role to play in promoting food tourism. Staff should maintain good consumer relationship with customers, prepare delicious foods and should ensure customers have value for their money.
“Stakeholders need to engage in food exhibitions. It attracts lots of people from within Nigeria and abroad.
“The government also has to provide conducive environment to attract tourists to the country,” he said.
Famakin also called on the media to do more reportage on food tourism as it would help showcase Nigerian recipes to the world.
“I realised that there is a gap in the Nigerian tourism industry. No one reports food news as other beats in journalism.
“There are different beats in journalism. sport, entertainment, business and other beats. There are several television shows on food abroad , but I don’t see much of it here in Nigeria,” Famakin said. (NAN)
*PHOTO: Mr Opeyemi Famakin