THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has tasked members of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), to come out with an exciting branding copy strong enough to sell Nigeria as a desirable tourism destination nation to the world.
The Ooni, who made this call while receiving the NATOP President, Hajia Billy Abdul; Chief Operating Officer, Bboog Travels and Tours in his palace recently disclosed: “NATOP is the torch bearer of the tourism sector and by that nature it must be awake, alive and be proactive.
It is an integral part of the tourism sector which relevance and essence cannot be relegated to the background if the nation earnestly desires to reap the fruits of the tourism sector. But in ascending this status, your members must gird their loins and play the necessary roles within the context of national development via tourism.”
The Ooni pointed out: “NATOP as a body of thoroughbred professional tour managers and administrators has a responsibility of crafting an appealing brand concept that could arrest the attention and ignite the passion in people to visit and tour Nigeria. Your association has the onerous responsibility to sell Nigeria, first to Nigerians, and then to the whole world “
He remarked that “The branding of Nigeria as a tourist destination of choice can only be done successfully if your members can realise the essential roles their professional accomplishments are meant to play in the global chain of tourism economic. There is no other group which has the professional potency and leverage to lure, persuade, convince and attract tourists to Nigeria. It is your duties and means of survival. Thus, the way you brand Nigeria will determine the volume of tourism traffic to Nigeria.”
The Ooni commended NATOP president, Hajia Abdul for her drive at ensuring that NATOP activities and programmes are not restricted to the urban centre “I am particularly glad that since you became the NATOP president, you have demonstrated a nationalistic fervour in your modus operandi at spreading the activities of NATOP.
I monitored your election in Jos and the roadshow which NATOP organised to restore the confidence of people in Jos as a state of peace and tourism, your visit to Ife and your proposed visit to the remaining part of Nigeria is an attestation to your vision of building a virile, viable, relevant and national association which brands Nigeria as an entity to the world.”
Ooni Ogunwusi assured Hajia Abdul of his royal blessing and support for the association. “I want to assure you of my support to ensure that NATOP continues to play its roles as expected. It is gratifying to know that the association will be holding its Pre-AGM in Ile-Ife. This is another demonstration of a nationalistic behaviour. Your association act will also expose your members to the multifarious tourism properties and business in this part of the country and particularly in Ile-Ife.”
By Wale-Ojo Lanre