Africa: We are Restructuring the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators NATOP for Tourism Growth-Onung

NATOP

NATOP is a founding member of The Federation of Tourism Associations in Nigeria FTAN and it has not produced a President for the Federation.

Mr. Da Silva and Mrs. Garbati NATOP Presidents have served as Deputies. Today I am the acting President of FTAN and a candidate for the exalted position of FTAN Presidency. This will be the first time and it is necessary that we achieve that goal.

It will bring to a culmination all the slow and deliberate actions that have taken place in NATOP in the Last 8 years.

READ: Africa: NATOP to host Mrs. Afeku Former Minister of Tourism Ghana and Businessman Akanimo Udofia as Speakers at AGM

NATOP has supported other Associations to Pproduce Presidents for FTAN and this is the time for other Associations to Support the First NATOP candidate for FTAN Presidency. The Travel Agents and Hoteliers have produced most of the Past Presidents of FTAN. There is nothing wrong in other Associations supporting NATOP for Once.

Since NATOP was formed many years ago it has struggled to establish itself and relevance in the Tourism Marketplace. It has groomed players on the outbound scene and the domestic tourism environment too. It helped kick-start Carnival Calabar in the early 2000s.

When we started to restructure NATOP for effectiveness in 2012 it was a slow grind. We got NTDC to register members and grant official recognition to the association. NATOP members were given desks at World Travel Market for the first time in 2012.

READ: Africa: Ooni Sets To Host NATOP AGM In Ile Ife

NATOP eventually organised its first recognised Annual General Meeting in Calabar in 2016 which was well attended.
That is why this Uyo AGM is the 5th Edition even when NATOP is over 20 Years Old.

It was in the same Year that NATOP re-joined FTAN after 8 years of absence.

So it was not surprising that at the 2nd AGM in 2017 the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed personally attended in Lagos. The Sudden success and prominence of NATOP on the National Tourism scene brought in new members who immediately attempted to hijack the association. This was resisted by members.

Today the embers of that very vicious attack on NATOP are still visible for all to see but the association survived.

The 2018 AGM in Jos and the 2019 AGM in Ile Ife were show pieces of Domestic Tourism Promotions. At the 2019 AGM we lost our Pathfinder Hajia Fatima Garbati the Former President.

Covid19 Pandemic and the subsequent Lockdown denied NATOP an Opportunity to visit another Nigerian Destination.

We have just visited Uyo one of the fastest growing cities in West Africa. With its Airport an Award Winning Airline and the biggest Hotel in West Africa Akwa Ibom State is ready for tourism.

Because of the very tough Year our members experienced in 2020 we decided to waive dues for 2020. We have also invited the Young and Passionate Tour Operators to come and register with NATOP at 50% discount. We commend these young players who have kept the flag flying all over the country.

We welcome them to our Fold.
The BOT have decided to confirm the extension of tenure of current executives till March 2022 because of the extraordinary impact of Covid19.

Elective AGM to hold in 2022 preferably in the North East, Northwest or South East.

So we are retaining the executives until the next elective AGM which should hold in any the Zones that have not hosted a NATOP AGM.

President…Hajia Bilkisu Abdul
Vice President..Ime Udo
Treasurer Bolaji Mustapha
Assistant Secretary..Owolabi Olaniran
Vacant Positions that we are filling on Acting Basis for now are

1. Secretary ….Geraldine Itoe
2. Financial Secretary… Cordis Marianuela
3. Publicity Secretary… Samuel Adeleke
Zonal Vice Presidents
4. South West..Michael Balogun
5. South South…Shalom Asuquo Ankoh
6. South East…Helen Odumodu Arinze
7. North Central…Namure Erhahor
8. North East…
9. North West…Olabaf Balqees

Each Zone must hold Monthly or Quarterly Meeting.
We expect the President to engage more with states, parastatals and government while the Vice Presidents get busy with meetings and members welfare matters. With these zones busy the course of tourism should be well advanced in Nigeria.

By Nkereuwem Onung

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