In the light of Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua’s position as the biggest tourist attraction to Nigeria, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had indicated his willingness to visit the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Ikotun, Lagos State.
He was speaking during a recent media briefing in Lagos with tourism journalists on the coming United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Committee for Africa (UNWTO-CAF) meeting schedule for Abuja early next month.
While reacting to the question on when he would visit the church based on the impact SCOAN is making in bringing inbound religious tourists to Nigeria, the minister said: “Honestly speaking, I have no issues at all visiting Synagogue.
This is why this particular conference is important because it is dealing with data, statistics. You see, if 500 people come in every day to Synagogue Church, it means in a month, we have about 15,000 people.
“The impact of 15,000 people on the economy of the Alimosho Local Government Area monthly… You know when they come, which hotel will they stay? What will they eat? How do they go? Do they go outside the church?
You see, these are issues we need to study, but if you have one source that could sustain thousands of people on regularly basis to your country, it is very important. If they don’t go outside the church, the impact on the economy will be a bit less.
“We need to engage the proprietor. Tourism is not just sightseeing. We have medical tourism everywhere in the world. We have religious tourism.
Take Saudi Arabia for instance, where hundreds of thousands of people go from all over the world. But the biggest impact on the economy is that when you go to Saudi Arabia, if you have the money, you will buy goods and come back.
“I want to encourage those who come in, even after receiving spiritual blessings, they should please spend their money so that the country can also benefit. But I think it is a good idea.”
SCOAN is regarded as the biggest tourist attraction to Nigeria with hundreds of foreign religious tourists daily trooping to the country to visit the church in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos.