From Felix Ikem, Nsukka

Prof Abba Tijani, Director General, National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM), has said that heritage resources is a sustainable economic development tool that can sufficiently contribute to tourism development of any country.

Abba said this in Nsukka on Tuesday in a keynote address he gave during the Department of Archaeology and Tourism, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), First Multidisciplinary Conference, tagged: “Multi-disciplinary Collaboration in the 21st Century: Planning for the Present and Future.”

He described tourism as a major item of international trade that boosted the economy of many countries.

‘Heritage resources promotes tourism and they are supposed to be more viable in Africa because of the continent rich cultural and natural heritage.

‘Heritage tourism has the ability to create employment, serve as a mechanism for protecting natural environment.

‘They also preserve historical, archaeological and religious monument, as well as generate foreign revenues,’ he said.

Mrs Victoria Osuagwu, the Director Department of Monuments Heritage and Sites in the commission, representing Prof Abba, delivered a paper entitled “Heritage Resources and Tourism Development: Issues in Management of Heritage Resources for Tourism Development in Nigeria,” saying: ‘Safeguarding the integrity and fabric of Nigeria’s heritage resources could be achieved by sustainable tourism management.

‘The sustainable use of country’s heritage resources for tourism must have at centre preservation and conservation.’

The DG commended UNN department of archeology and tourism for the multi-discplinary conference and described the theme of the conference as very apt.

Speaking, Chief Samuel Asadu, Igwe Elect of Ubogidi/Ozalla proposed an autonomous community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State in a lead paper he presented, entitled: “Cultural Institutions and their Implication for Tourism Development.”

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He described archeology and tourism as huge foreign exchange earner in the globe as many people across the world visit museums and tourist sites for research and sight seeing.

He advised students of the department to take their course study very serious as they have unlimited opportunities of employment across the world.

In a remark, Prof Charles Igwe the Vice-chancellor of UNN, said archeology showcased the past and present of any country using tourism as launching pad.

‘The study of archeology help us to know historical facts of our past so as to use such facts to plan our future,’ he said.

Igwe, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chnacellor administration, commended Dr Emeka Okonkwo, the Head of the Department of Archaeology and Tourism, for being the first in the department to multi-discplinary conference to find solutions of challenges facing museums and tourism in the country.

‘The university is proud of your efforts to move the department to s greater heights and will continue to give the necessary support,’ he said.

Earlier, Okonkwo said that ‘the conference was conceptualised out of the need to address academic and societal issues from different perspectives.

‘You will agree with me that the present-day Nigeria is bedeviled with several challenges and it is only through a multidimensional approach that these issues can be tackled and resolved.

‘This conference will provide an interdisciplinary platform for research scholars of diverse fields from different parts of the country to come together to exchange and share their experiences and research results on how to address the several challenges troubling the Nigerian state.

‘Such issues that will be addressed include, natural and cultural heritage resources, tourism development, insecurity and conflict management.’