The tourism stakeholders has called on the incoming government of the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to restore the Ministry of Tourism, to enable the tourism sector contribute effectively to the development of the country.
The called was made at the historic Tourism Parliament with the theme, “Setting tourism agenda for the new dispensation in Nigeria” organised by the Association of Travel and Tourism Writers of Nigeria (ATTWON) at Citi Height Height Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos recently.
Earlier in his welcome address, the president, ATTWON, Mr. Ayo Omotoso said “Tourism contributes towards complete growth and development of a country. Tourism boosts the revenue of the economy, creates thousands of jobs, develops the infrastructures of a country and the more reason the theme for this quarterly edition of ATTWON Tourism Parliament”.
“This edition of Tourism Parliament is historic as we are having two distinguished former Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA), Mrs. Omotayo Omotosho and Mrs. Sally Mbanefo as speakers”, Omotoso said.
Collectively, the stakeholders agreed that the current Ministry of Information and Culture does not represent tourism fully and the need for the stand alone ministry of tourism.
The former Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo said “Tourism is life and everything we live has part of tourism in it via business tourism, education tourism, lifestyle, health, destination tourism to mention a few. The reason why domestic tourism was focused while in office”.
The Vice President (South West), Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Otunba Ayo Olumoko speaking at the forum charged the incoming government to bring back the Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) set up during the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo for positive impacts and growth of the tourism sector.
In her contribution, the former Director General, Nigeria Tourism development Authority, Mrs. Omotayo Omotosho, MFR said,”We need to have a national tourism master-plan, the need to create a tourism policy, improve funding for the sector, enlist round pegs into round holes by allowing core tourism professionals handle tourism affair”.
Mrs. Omotosho thanked the association for bringing together stakeholders in charting a course for the new dispensation believing that the trajectory and body language of the incoming government shows that Tourism is very important as a major revenue earner and goal to domestic tourism and marketing.
The Country Representative – Nigeria, West Africa Tourism Organisation (WATO), Mr. Hassan Zakari on his part stated that a critical agenda for the incoming government is the need for a legal framework constitutionally. He proposed that advisory board between state and federal stakeholders midwifed by NDTA to give a framework.
He suggested that the framework would clearly state if the sector is on an exclusive list or residual list. He also proposed the need to rejig the National Tourism Master-plan with current trends though the the plan is a fantastic and well thought out document that is yet to be implemented.
Ambassador Roy Okhidievbie, Group CEO, August Eye Ltd who spoke critically on tourism from a security perspective suggested for a Tourism Police within the Nigerian Police Force while the CEO, That Good Media, Mrs.Toyosi Etim-Effiong spoke on the different dynamics of Nollywood in tourism, she hyped on the need for script writers in Nollywood promoting and projecting domestic tourism, sites, travels hospitality, art and culture at the script level.
In conclusion, Dr Alex Nwuba, who is the president of aircraft owners and pilots association and also the Special Assistant to the FTAN President and also Special Adviser on tourism to Sierra Leone and Liberia agreed that the different agendas stated by the major stakeholders are vital in turning the sector around but that the need for a legal framework for the sector is a major agenda for collective direction and development of the sector.
Shortly before rounding up at the forum, the Executive Chairman, Mushin Local Government, Hon. Emmanuel Bamigboye was honoured with “Tourism Excellence Award” for supporting community based tourism development in Mushin Local Government.
Notable among the guests who attended the Tourism Parliament are the Zonal Coordinator (South West), Nigerian Tourism Development Authority, Mr Rotimi Aiyetan; President, Asian-African Chamber of Commerce and Industries Nigeria Chapter (AACCI), Head of Tourism Unit, Mushin Local Government, Mrs. Adedamola Ayomikun Owolabi representing the Executive Chairman, Mushin Local Government, Hon. Emmanuel Bamigboye; Mr. Anrinle Ahmed Adekunle; Chairman, Crownworth Consulting, Mr. Charles Ukomadu; former Controller of Human Resources, Lagos Airport Hotel and General Manager, Ikeja Golf Club, Mr. Lawrence Omidiora.