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ASRTI canvasses promotion of tourism destinations


A general view of Idanre hills on August 25, 2018 in Idanre, Nigeria. / AFP PHOTO / Florian PLAUCHEUR

Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has called on government at all levels and private sectors to promote tourism and make Nigeria a tourism destination.

President of the aviation think-tank group, Gbenga Olowo, said once tourism is made attractive to tourists, especially foreigners, the contribution of the sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would increase and create more jobs for the teeming populace.

Olowo, following his induction as a Fellow of Institute for Tourism Professionals (ITP), recently in Abuja, reiterated that Nigeria has a lot of tourism destinations to promote, but “some of these sites remain untapped under the wrong perception of insecurity.”

He noted that despite the continued wars in Israel, tourists still trooped into the country year- round; ditto for Brazil, in spite of high crime rate. So, he wondered why the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

“We already have tourism on ground, but we need to package, brand and market whatever we have. Practitioners have to get serious and turn tourism to good economic investment.

“The travel agencies, tour operators, and by extension, the Ministry of Information and Culture should do more. Information remains grossly inadequate both at our embassies and all media.

“I landed at night in Kano State recently and surprisingly found everywhere lit. Kano is so beautiful and there are several cities like that in the country today. A tour of Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt by night, with dinner and show lasting three hours or there about, will be an attractive package any day. As we speak, Uyo is hosting lady golfers in Africa. Tour packages should be part of such tournament.

“We should begin to market our tourist sites. Israel is fighting wars yet tourism, medicine and agriculture remain their primary economic strength,” Olowo said.

On his induction as a fellow of ITP, Olowo said that the honour was a challenge thrown at him to do more for the industry.

The Lead Quality Assurance Verifier, ITP, Mallam Abdullahi Sheriff, said the formation of the institute was necessary, in order to ensure professionals speak with one voice.

Sheriff noted that ITP’s membership cuts across the entire value chain of tourism, transportation, hospitality and culture industries among others.

He added that if Nigeria was to achieve its Vision 20:2020, it was necessary for the government to address the challenges in the education sector, stressing that efforts were underway to make ITP a chartered institution.

He explained that at the moment, ITP had about 123 centres across the country, while efforts were in place to consistently increase the centres.

“Continuous development of the sector is critical to the nation’s development. The tourism sector requires skill education. There are plans to improve the ITP status to a stage where its graduates will participate in the regular National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programmes. People must be trained to get the characteristics of the industry.”

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