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    Sterling Bank MD, Others Seek Ways to Give Tourism a Push

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    High profile personalities in the country lent their voices in support of the tourism industry, as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the 2023 World Tourism Day (WTD), recently.

    The United Nations agency, UNWTO has set aside every September 27 for tourism stakeholders to celebrate tourism, known as the highest employer of labour – skilled and unskilled labour, young and old. Tourism is also a veritable vehicle to alleviate poverty.

    Without doubt, this year’s edition of WTD, with the theme “Tourism and Green Investments,” was well received. Sterling Bank highlighted their green investments at a gathering it convened recently to mark its own 2023 World Tourism Day in Lagos.

    The event, which was held at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), witnessed an impressive turn-out of stakeholders in the tourism/creative industry and across other sectors.

    The speakers sought what they described as the way forward in the travel and leisure business. They identified the whole gamut of ills bedevilling the tourism industry in the country.

    Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Ltd., Abubakar Suleiman, was able to shed a visionary light on Nigeria tourism. Suleiman earlier identified infrastructure and positive narrative as key to Nigeria’s tourism industry growth.

    He harped on the dire need for the government to provide tourist infrastructure in the country, saying that stakeholders need to promote a positive narrative about Nigeria and increase advocacy. “The way we portray our homeland is a powerful tool and the moment we begin highlighting its positive attributes, tourists will be more inclined to visit,” he said.

    According to him, “These critical factors are necessary for propelling the growth of Nigeria tourism. The tourism industry here has continued to stagnate and financing for the capital intensive tourism industry over the years has come in drops rather than the much needed funds.”

    At present, some institutions are doing all they could to give the nation’s tourism sector the push it deserves. Generally, operators of tourism-reliant businesses said Sterling Bank has been “consistent in listening to us.”

    One tourism/creative industry operator, Dr. Chief Nike Okundaye appreciated Sterling Bank for their kind support. The bank had a booth at Nike Art Gallery, Lagos where they served gallery-goers light refreshments during the World Tourism Day on September 27. It’s significant as Nigeria only had pockets of WTD celebrations across the country year in year out. The WTD hadn’t been on the front burner for years. Many remember with nostalgia former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, from 1999 to 2007, regarded as the “Golden Era” of Nigeria tourism.

    The tourism sector was given pride of place. This is because the tourism industry has the potential to be a mainstay of the nation’s economy in terms of revenue generation and culture cross- breeding.

    In his assessment, Suleiman adopted a three-pronged approach to revive Nigeria tourism experience. First, he asked individuals interested in travelling for business and for pleasure, to always ensure they packed their necessary travel items. Second, he emphasised the significance of highlighting and visiting the nation’s inspirational regions so tourists can take “full advantage of Nigeria’s unique, vibrant culture and rich history.”

    Lastly, he touched on the critical role of stakeholders in advocating for an enabling environment for growing the tourism industry. Sulieman advised tourism operators on partnership, saying that cooperation among trusted stakeholders to curate the entire journey for tourists cannot be overemphasised; from the moment they search for Nigeria on Google to their remarkable experiences at renowned destinations like Nike Arts Gallery and Olumo Rock.

    Also at the 2023 World Tourism Day event in Lagos, the Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adewale Egbedu, echoed the sentiment of partnership and visions of progress, affirming the state government’s readiness to partner with the private sector to harness the full potential of its tourism industry.

    Egbedu highlighted Osun State’s status as “Home to some of Nigeria’s most captivating tourist sites.” The Speaker pledged to conduct rigorous oversight of the state’s major tourist destinations and collaborate with the private sector to achieve desired outcomes in both the tourism and creative sectors.

    He encouraged private sector entities to engage with the legislature to establish relevant legal and institutional frameworks that would facilitate the execution of their ideas and initiatives, ultimately contributing to a better understanding of the societies and communities in which they operate.

    In the same vein, Head, Tourism and Creative Desk, Sterling Bank, Abiola Adelana, called on Nigerian citizens to promote domestic tourism. The award-winning banker maintained that collaboration among industry stakeholders is key in order to position the tourism sector in the country.

    Sharing her enthusiasm for revitalising the nation’s tourism sector, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos State, Mrs. Toke Benson, shared her commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to bolster the tourism sector in Lagos.

    Benson expressed hope that Lagos State would soon gain global recognition showcasing her rich cultural heritage, music, people, and cuisine, which she deemed incomparable.

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    Escaped Hyena in Jos, Nigeria Successfully Captured by Local Tourism Board After Drone and Ranger Search

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    Escaped Hyena in Jos, Nigeria Successfully Captured by Local Tourism Board After Drone and Ranger Search

    A hyena that was loose in the central Nigerian city of Jos has been successfully captured, the local tourism board has reported.

    According to Akonitv, drones and rangers searched for the animal after it escaped from the Jos Wildlife Park, causing panic among residents in the area. The hyena had “finally been found, tranquilised, captured and returned to its enclosure”, the tourism board said in a statement.

    It is unclear how the hyena escaped but, according to the tourist board, it had been inside a cage. Many people in Jos were scared, despite assurances from wildlife experts that the chances of the hyena attacking were slim.

    “Hyenas are very fearful of humans – the animal is more likely to run away than attack,” said Abba Gandu, who is based at Kano Zoo in the north of the country, and has worked with lions and hyenas for 50 years.

    “It normally excretes when scared and I foresee that happening when people finally get to it.”
    Wildlife escapes are not new in Nigeria. In 2015, a four-year-old lion was shot dead after it had escaped from the same park.

    At the time, police said the lion was hostile during attempts to return it to its enclosure and was put down before it could harm anyone.

    In nearby Kano state in 2019, a lion also escaped while rangers were trying to return it to a cage after attending a national agricultural show. It was later found after hours of searching.

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    Hyena Escapes From Jos Wildlife Park

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    Hyena Escapes From Jos Wildlife Park

    The management of Plateau State Tourism Corporation has confirmed the escape of a Hyena from the Jos Wildlife Park.

    A statement signed by the General Manager of the Corporation, Mr Chuwang Pwajok reads that” We would like to inform the general public that the Hyena which recently escaped from its cage at the Jos Wildlife Park is currently being tracked by our dedicated team of game guards and Park Rangers with the assistance of drone technology.”

    He assured the public that the corporation are taking all necessary measures to locate the escaped animal and ensure its safe return to its enclosure soonest.”

    “We kindly request the public to remain calm and avoid any approach to the Hyena if sighted,” the statement further reads.

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    FTAN to deliberate on way forward for tourism industry at 27th AGM

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    FTAN to deliberate on way forward for tourism industry at 27th AGM

    The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), has announced plans for its 27th Annual General Meeting scheduled for July 30, 2024, in Abuja.

    While briefing the Travel Press during a zoom meeting, Aliyu Badaki, chairman of the planning committee, disclosed that the AGM is non-elective and holds on the theme, ‘The role of the private sector in the development of tourism in Nigeria’.

    He explained that the theme is timely and in line with the happenings in the sector, the economy and the country at large.

    The chairman also revealed that the meeting would feature a panel session with Philda Nani Kereng, High Commissioner of Botswana to Nigeria, as the lead speaker. He expressed confidence that her wealth of experience in tourism would contribute immensely to the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the area of tourism.

    In the face of the economic reality, Badaki said that the AGM would provide another good platform for the government and the private sector to deliberate on challenges and how to drive tourism in Nigeria.

    Dignitaries expected as the event include: Lola Ade-John, Minister of Tourism; Hannatu Musa Musawa, Minister of Culture; John Owan Enoh, Minister of Sports; Folorunsho Coker, director general of NTDA; Nura Kangiwa, director general of NIHOTOUR; Ifeanyi Okeke, director general, SON; ECOWAS Commissioner of Tourism; Board of Trustees, FTAN, and other key stakeholders.

    According to him, with the calibre of panelists and high-powered dignitaries expected to grace the occasion, result-oriented deliberations and impactful networking are underway, as the AGM is the first time after a long while the industry is going to witness such key players coming together to chart a new course for the sector.

    Meanwhile, the AGM will serve as a flagship event for NTIFE, FTAN’s event, which comes up in November 2024.

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