The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has changed its name to the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) to take the sector to the next level of effective collaborations, regulations and revenue generation.
The Director-General of the agency, Mr Folorunsho Coker, made this know in an interview with the newsmen at the sideline of an event to sensitise the staff of the agency on the new law on Friday in Abuja.
Coker said the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority Act, 2022 accented by President Muhammadu Buhari has changed the name of the Corporation to Authority.
“The new law is speaking of temporary issues in tourism. It is not a draconian law. It is a collaboration between states and Federal Government in driving revenue in the tourism and hospitality industry.
“It is about tourism trust fund which is now a vehicle in use to invest in tourism assets. We must understand that if the laws are not right, investments will not come in.
“The operation of an old law in a dynamic environment that is constantly changing will not get us to where we want to be. Dubai, South Africa and Kenya amended their laws during COVID-19 pandemic and they thrived, but we did not.
“However, I will do a comprehensive break down of the new law and share it with the 36 states. I will invite the 36 Commissioners of tourism to Abuja, so that we can sit down, discuss, reach an agreement and take it to the next level.
“If you could recall, fantastic legal frameworks were given to the telecommunication and banking sector and we had positive results. It is time for tourism to flourish with the help of the new law.
“I want to thank those that made the new law possible. NTDC is now NTDA, and it is going to be a different ball game that will sanitised the sector and generate huge revenue to the country,” Coker stressed.
Meanwhile the Head of Legal Unit of the agency, Mrs Funebi Otu Umondak explained that the old law was over 20 year-old, adding that it is obsolete and not helping the agency and tourism industry.
Umondak stressed that as a result, it was necessary for the agency to come up with the new law, because the agency was supposed to be a revenue earner for the nation.
“We are grateful to Buhari for signing the bill into law. This law now made it possible for collaborations with states, local governments, private sector and international organisations.
“The new law made provision for Tourism Fund to help industry players grow and develop the economy, and also Alliance that will make tourism more attractive to everyone in the sector.
“So, what is important and key is the collaboration and partnership with stakeholders make tourism better and flourish for our great nation,” Umondak stressed.
Newsmen reports that the 20 page Nigerian Tourism Development Authority Act 2022 repeals the NTDC Act Cap N137 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to develop and promote Nigeria as a travel and tourism destination.
The Act contains 30 sections which includes, Establishment of NTDA, Membership of the Governing Board, Funds for the Authority, Power to Borrow, Establishment of Tourism Development Fund and Tourism Development Fund Management Board.
Others are Establishment of Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Divisions, Alliance of Tourism Enterprises, Joint Ventures, Tourism Development Levy, Accreditation, Classification of Tourism Enterprises, Offences and Penalties among others.
That the journey to getting the new law started about six years ago when Coker took charge of affairs as the Director-General.