The president of the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria [FTAN], Nkereuwem Onung has called for the re-enactment of the presidential Council on Tourism to stimulate the states apparatus to drive genuine development and promotion of practical tourism in Nigeria.
Onung who spoke at the 5th edition of the National Tourism and Transportation Summit and Expo at the Abuja International Conference Centre on Monday said tourism is the lowest handing fruit for the development of the economy but added that the country does not have a masterplan on tourism adding that its tourism policies are out dated.
He noted that the tourism sector has been side-lined because of the absence of a stand-alone ministry to activate its pivotal role; as a relevant ecosystem of the Nigeria economy.
“Let me also emphasis and appreciate the fact that we are talking about the link between transportation and tourism. This link is very important because when we want to calculate the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of tourism we only look at travels. And that is why sometimes we are told they can’t give us the ministry of our own, because they are not seeing the contributions of tourism to GDP.
“But when you add the contribution of transportation, when you bring aviation, with other allied tourism sector business that made up the value chain together, it will give you an incredible outlook of data and inflow that will blow your mind.
“Many people who are doing events now, because they think that tourism is not viable so they begin to get into alliance with other departments of the economy. And that is why we will like to use this opportunity again to call on the federal government that it is time to re-enact the PCT, the Presidential Council on Tourism, where the president is the chairman. Where you bring the 8 different ministries together so that tourism will find focus in Nigeria.
“Today as a sector, we are so dysfunctional and you can’t believe it, we even think that some of the agencies of the federal government are illegal because of laws in operation. And because of 2019 Supreme Court Judgement, we are told that tourism resides with the state but you know that tourism should be a national phenomenon. This country does not have a masterplan on tourism, its tourism policies are out dated.
And that is why we are still calling for conversations. It is time for us to sit together, it is the lowest hanging fruit for the development or our economy. “He said.
He however commend Institute of Tourism Professional of Nigeria for organizing an event that is pivotal to the stimulation of the public and private sector partnership, saying that the success of the summit and expo rest on the fact that it was anchored by a private sector.