Africa: Tourism stakeholders commend Minister but seek experts and media in masterplan review

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By Renn Offor

Tourism Stakeholders have commended the Minister of Culture and Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for his efforts in reviewing the Tourism Master Plan but they have also called for the inclusion of Nigerian Tourism Experts and Media into the Review committee.

The tourism stakeholders and travel media unanimously commended the effort of the, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his ongoing quest to redeem the ailing tourism sector, part of the effort being the setting up of the Tourism Master Plan Review Committee which included Mr. Jim Flannery, International Tourism Adviser of The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Alhaji Lai Mohammed received Mr. Flannery on Tuesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory who is in Nigeria on the bid of UNWTO the global apex tourism body’s effort in helping Nigeria to review its Tourism Master Plan, which was put together in 2006, and which after 10 year is still to be implemented.

Mr. Flannery, in his speech, observed that Nigeria’s Tourism Master Plan could not be implemented ten years ago because of the sheer volume of activities that previous governments wanted to undertake at once, and went on to advise the adoption a new approach where salient areas in the tourism Master Plan can be identified for immediate implementation.

Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the Review Committee for Nigeria’s National Tourism Master Plan which is made up of Nigerian Government officials and some Tourism Association heads along with the so called experts from UNWTO that has been inaugurated, and particularly on the inclusion of Mr. Jim Flannery, by stakeholders and travel journalists.

According to one of the Tourism journalists, Okorie Uguru ‘Mr. Flannery was a member of the team that wrote the Masterplan that Nigerians say was un-implementable. Why bring him back again’? the Journalist asked.

‘I was shocked to see him being part of the experts from UNWTO. He was among those that formulated the 2006 unworkable tourism master plan. If the 2006 did not fly, why bring him back again? We cannot be doing the wrong thing and expect to get the right result’, he concluded.

On a related development last week, the National President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, who is a member of the review committee made a call in a chat with the media for the inclusion of local tourism experts and the tourism media to be part of the Tourism Master Plan Review Committee.

“I have attended the meeting and is impressed with the documents presented; but I feel we should involve our local experts and Tourism media in this review. These experts criticized the Master Plan and they were proved right with the failure of the plan’, Mr. Onung had said.

‘So, putting together another plan without them is a sure path to failure. I want to see our known experts get involved. We should not be afraid to involve them.”

The NATOP President also wants some members of the Tourism Committee of the Vision 202020 that had earlier reviewed the Document so that there will be some form of continuity.

“Civil servants alone cannot review the Master plan,” he opined.

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