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    FG commits to partnering FTAN, others towards ‘making Nigeria tourism work’



    Federal Government has recommitted to enabling private enterprise participation in growing the tourism sector of the country, just as it also commended the efforts made by the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) towards that field of the country’s economy.
    FTAN President, Mr Nkereuwem Onung with the Minister of Tourism, Ms Lola Ade-John, Thursday, in Abuja during a courtesy visit by the private sector tourism operators’ group

    FTAN is the umbrella body of private sector operators in the tourism industry of Nigeria.

    Minister of the newly established Ministry of Tourism, Ms Lola Ade-John, disclosed this when she met with a delegation of FTAN top executives led by its President, Mr Nkereuwem Onung, accompanied by the Directors General of the two agencies in the ministry; the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, as well as, his counterpart at the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA), Mr Folarin Coker.

    The minister used the meeting to restate her task of making the tourism industry viable and attractive to private investors, which she said tops the list of focus she has been tasked with by President Bola Tinubu.

    According to the minister, ‘tourism is set to take the number one space in revenue generation in the country,’ which she stressed can only be achieved through effective collaborations and result-oriented partnerships with private sector business and think-tank groups like FTAN.

    Earlier, while proposing key areas of focus for the minister, FTAN President, Mr Onung disclosed that suggestions presented to the Federal Government through her, for consideration are intended to assist the Tourism ministry in achieving its objective of repositioning the Nigerian tourism industry for growth and development, as a great contributor to the national economy.

    FTAN in its suggestions urged the Federal Government to revisit stalled programmes initiated in the sector, including the National Tourism Masterplan; hosting of the National Council on Tourism, state’s tourism masterplan, as well as, the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), all of which had been abandoned by previous administrations for non-justifiable reasons despite the huge potential they portend for growing the sector of the economy.

    It would be recalled that since the conclusion of the 61st Meeting United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa (CAF) and Technical Seminar for Tourism Statistics hosted by Nigeria in Abuja, in June 2018, which recommended and harped on a TSA for African countries, the far-reaching resolutions of that gathering have remained in the dustbin of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (or Culture, Information and National Orientation).

    Incidentally, that novel meeting was hosted by immediate past minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. However, nearly five years after, nothing in that direction has been done by way of implementation of its decisions.

    It is against this backdrop that FTAN reminded the new minister of the need to reactivate the project as a way of lifting and pointing out a new direction for the industry operators, in particular, and the country’s economy in general.

    According to FTAN, Federal Government has ‘to create awareness and understanding of the implementation of Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA) which is very important in tracking and keeping records of the National tourism growth and development indices, statistically.’
    Minister of Tourism, Ms. Lola Ade-John in a group photograph with members of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) led by President, Mr Nkereuwem Onung, who paid a courtesy visit to her office in Abuja, Thursday

    Onung further revisited the controversial National Tourism Masterplan, which since its official launch in 2006 under the tenure of Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, in Abuja, has come under heavy criticism for being too alien, and copied from the UNWTO without adaptation to the Nigerian peculiar environment.

    Subsequent tenures of ministers like Chief Edem Duke had attempted to ‘domesticate’ it by including the concept of ‘tourism clusters,’ an attempt which was also rebuffed by operators, until its present state of abandonment by various states and private operators.

    FTAN seeks the Federal Government attention to revisit the masterplan. This in addition to the idea of allowing individual states of the federation to draw up their own tourism masterplans, which FTAN posits ‘will equally serve as a roadmap and guide in the implementation of their tourism development programs and activities.’

    According to Onung, government needs to revisit the National Tourism Masterplan, as, according to him, ‘Nigeria cannot talk about developing the tourism industry without a roadmap to guide it to do so most effectively and efficiently which is the objective of the National Tourism Development Plan as a vital document.’

    FTAN also sought the reactivation of the mandatory but now abandoned Federal Government’s hosting of the National Council on Tourism, which was a platform ‘where important national policies and programs on tourism industry are discussed, far reaching decisions are taken, giving guide and direction to national tourism activities for sustainability and enhancement.’

    This is further as the group backed the formation of Commissioners of Tourism Forum, which it said ‘will bring all commissioners of tourism across the country together and afford them to discuss tourism development issues in their domains as well as offer the opportunity for synergy in national tourism development matters.’

    The tourism operators’ group, in addition to its proposals before the minister, urged the Federal Government to come up with a calendar of events which will include all key tourism and hospitality events across the country annually.

    “Besides giving national tourism events a line of focus and direction in preparedness, it will guide tourists to prepare their schedules to attend tourism and hospitality events in the country by both local and international visitors,” the FTAN president told the minister.

    The business group also advocated the revival of the long rested Presidential Council of Tourism, which it said was a platform brings together key stakeholders from the public sector comprising lines Ministries, Departments and Agencies at all levels of government as well as the organized private sector in the tourism industry with His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief as Chairman of the council.

    Continuing, Onung recalled the ‘the thorny issue of Grading and Classification of Tourism and Hospitality establishments’ which he said needs to be in place to guide ‘standard operation patterns for tourism and hospitality establishments in the country in line with global best practices.”

    FTAN also made a case before the minister to be carried along in programs, events and projects of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on tourism development matters and initiatives.

    “We need to be informed, keep pace, and be carried along in international tourism development issues. “This should be in collaboration with the organized private sectors for credibility and legitimacy.

    “For instance, the UNWTO strategy on innovation and Education, Digital Transformation and Investments, and others, the group told the minister, as it further included the attendance of International Tourism and Hospitality Events.

    “For instance, the World Tourism Market (WTM), FITUR, INDABA, and others,” adding that; ‘the Federal Government should organize and lead the country’s delegation and attendance of such events.’

    In conclusion, FTAN advised the Federal Government ‘to key into the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda on Tourism of the United Nations and devise means to implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs, and promotes local culture and products.’

    While commending President Bola Tinubu for ‘creating a separate Ministry for Tourism, which it said heeded ‘the cry of the industry,’ FTAN also hailed Ms Ade-John’s ‘worthiest appointment,’ describing it as ‘a good omen and literally the best thing that has happened to the industry in recent years given your pedigree and unalloyed commitment and dedication to the service of the country.’

    The FTAN President, therefore, expressed the trust that Ms Ade-John’s emergence ‘will bring to bear in positioning Nigeria as a country that should enormously rely on the Tourism Industry because of the immense economic values it has to offer.’

    Responding, in her brief remarks, Ade-John reechoed President Tinubu’s charge to all the ministerial appointees to revitalize their sectors, even as she thanked the FTAN delegation for the courtesy visit to her office ‘despite the tight space in the meeting room.’

    The minister assured FTAN of her commitment to ‘push in ways and modalities to make tourism in Nigeria work,’ with the cooperation of the private sector enterprise stakeholders like the group.

    On the abandoned TSA, the minister explained that since she is coming from a background of technology and data, she ‘will ensure the TSA works.’

    “Presently, I am working closely with all the ministers to ensure that the mandate to which they were appointed by President Bola Tinubu were achieved and do all within their power to ensure they succeeded,” Ms Ade-John said.

    On the issue of carrying FTAN along in government attendance at international events, the minister assured that she is working closely with all the parastatals and the ministry to attend those events in order ‘to tell the world that Tourism in Nigeria is back.’

    On partnership with private sector operators in the industry, the minister assured of her readiness to ‘gladly talk to FTAN anytime’ and FTAN should feel free to come to the office to see her anytime.

    Members of the FTAN delegation in the courtesy visit to the Tourism minister’s office included the executive committee officers, and some presidents of affiliate associations.


    We’ll reshape hospitality industry, tourism in Abia – Otti



    Otti said this on Thursday during a meeting with members of Nigeria Hotel Association and Hotel Proprietors Association in Umuahia. The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Caleb Ajagba, said that he was desirous to develop and strengthen the hospitality industry as well as tourism sector to meet global standards.


    He said that the rebuilding agenda of the government was focused on achievement of even distribution of socioeconomic development and added that the hotel owners had a vital role to play in this regard.


    “We are here to kick start what would be an enduring legacy in terms of reshaping the perception of stakeholders in the hospitality industry.


    “Also looking at creative ways to move the hospitality industry, and one of the take away we are looking at, is building partnership with stakeholders.


    “Government cannot do everything, however, government will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, but it is the responsibility of entrepreneurs to drive the process to boost wealth creation,” he said.


    Otti said that the government would create channels that would enhance the visibility of Abia’s hospitality industry on the digital space, and further drive the hospitality businesses to deliver world class services.

    The Commissioner for Digital Economy, Dr Matthew Ekwuruibe, urged stakeholders in the hospitality industry to align with government’s rebuilding agenda.


    Ekwuruibe said that plans were underway to build a website for hotels listing and booking , as well as connecting the hotels to Google Map, and added that the website would contain information about tourism centres in Abia.

    He said that the use of digital technology to reinvent the hospitality industry had a lot of benefits such as increased visibility, enhanced ease of doing business, among others. Also, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu, said that the hospitality industry played a central role in improving the economy of any state.


    Kanu said that “the hospitality industry is central to any government that is interested in growing its economy.

    “The relationship between government and the hotel owners is a relationship that needs to grow into a partnership to transform the hospitality industry,”


    The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kazie Uko, described the meeting as a deliberate effort by the government to transform the hospitality industry in the state. Uko said that the engagement between the government and stakeholders had created a viable opportunity to address the issues inhibiting the growth of the industry in the state.


    Furthermore, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism and Entertainment, Martins Justice, described the hospitality industry as the bedrock of the tourism sector. Justice said that the government was working to build a hospitality industry that would meet the demands of the 21st Century as well as develop the tourism sector.

    Earlier, the National Treasurer of Nigeria Hotel Association, Charles Ezeala, called on the state government to create an enabling environment for hotel businesses to thrive. Ezeala said that the government had a great role to play in assisting hotel businesses to thrive, for the hospitality industry to be transformed.


    Also, Nnanna Ngwakwe, a member of Hotel Proprietors Association, Aba branch, said that insecurity, poor power supply and bad roads were the bane of hotel businesses in Abia and added that this was affecting the growth of the hospitality industry in the state.

    Ngwakwe called for the urgent intervention of the state government in addressing the challenges threatening the advancement of the industry in Abia.

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    Ufitfly boss wants govt to develop tourism sector



    The team Leader of a destination management outfit and owner of the Ufitfly brand, Evang Ajibola Ogunkeyede has urged the Federal Government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to showcase our numerous tourism potential and forge partnerships with many intending private outfits to grow inbound traffic in our tourism sector.

    He opined that tourism is enough to bail the country’s economy out of its present quagmire if well harnessed, saying countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya and Uganda relies so much on tourism and they’re making it big from Nigerian business men and women that are patronizing them.

    Ogunkeyede, who made these calls while featuring on the weekly radio magazine program, ‘Travel with the Twins’ that was recently aired in Ibadan, where he also revealed that his firm (UfitFly) that has made big mark in Africa on Christian’s pilgrimage has spent almost 450 million on publicity.

    He said the country is blessed with beautiful sceneries, bubbling nightlife and exciting culture, sacred sites, enthralling wildlife in the many national parks, eco-tourism, mountains, and several other unique tourist attractions.

    He however urged Nigerians to embrace inbound tourism by visiting local tourist sites for leisure instead of spending fortune on going for holidays abroad stressing that places such as Olumo Rock, Yankari Game Reserve, Lekki Conservation Centre, Zuma Rock, Agbokim Waterfall, Aso Rock, Agodi Gardens, Ado-Awaye, Calabar Tinapa, Ekiti, Jos are all tourist sites.


    “Just recently I advised my family during this vacation to visit Lekki Conservation Centre instead of their initial plans of going to United Kingdom for holiday, and they so much enjoyed themselves with just five hundred thousand than spending millions on air-tickets going to United Kingdom because of the economic situation of the country,” he noted.

    Ogunkeyede however gave kudos to the Governor of Oyo State Engr. Seyi Makinde for improving the security of the state which has boosted the night-life and tourism prospect in and around the state urging him to do more in developing the numerous tourists’ sites for improved internally generated revenue ( IGR) from the tourism sector.

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    Firm Plans ‘Street Food Celebration’ to Showcase Nigerian Cuisine



    On October 1, 2023, food enthusiasts and stakeholders will gather at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos to have a taste of Nigerian cuisine at an event organised by 3X4 Foods, a subsidiary of 3 BY 4 Gourmet.

    The founder of 3X4 Foods, Ms Banke Makinde, said the programme, Street Food Celebration, would be used to showcase the Nigerian culture, through food, to the world.

    She said the event would provide an opportunity to celebrate Nigeria’s culture, history, and people through street food, and promote cultural entertainment, and delicious gourmet street food.

    According to her, Street Food Celebration will highlight the evolution and globalisation of Nigerian food and promote the new wave of African food concepts that are taking the world by storm.

    “I want to export our rich African culture through food. Lagos is a melting pot of cultures, and our street food reflects that diversity.

    “I’m spearheading this effort to push its globalization because I want the world to experience the deliciousness and uniqueness of Nigerian cuisine.

    “The Street Food Celebration is a wholesome way to share our culture and heritage with others, and to build bridges between different communities,” Ms Makinde stated.

    The invite-only event is expected to host over 500 stakeholders in the food ecosystem, including chefs, restauranteurs, food critics and writers, FMCG brands, influencers, and regulators.

    It will also have members of the general public in attendance for a night of networking, cultural exploration, and sampling of Nigeria’s best street food cuisine.

    The event is sponsored by key organisations in the industry and beyond, including the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Bank of Industry, BUA Foods, and Flour Mills Nigeria, among others.

    To consolidate its efforts to push local appreciation and globalisation of Nigerian culture, the event will also feature various forms of cultural entertainment and art to showcase the rich heritage of Nigeria and Africa. This will include an exciting performance from a dance troupe and a showcase of curated art from talented local artists.

    Through this upcoming event, 3X4 Foods showcases its commitment to promoting the diversity and richness of African cuisine, whilst connecting industry players and key stakeholders.

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