At tourism and transport summit, stakeholders call for collaboration to grow travel industry
It was a gathering of ‘who is who’ in the tourism and transport sectors in Abuja recently, as the Institute of Tourism Professionals (ITP) hosted the second edition of the National Tourism & Transport Summit and Expo. Held at the main hall of the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, the two-day event created a platform for stakeholders to brainstorm on the potential and challenges facing the growth of both sectors.
Held under the theme, Tourism and Transportation Inter-dependencies for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, which was dedicated to exploring in details the synergy between tourism and transportation and how best to reap the windfalls from them, got the backing of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, as well as Ministry of Information and Culture.
In his welcome remarks, the President of ITP, Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, who was also the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the summit said the National Tourism and Transport Summit and Expo aims at bringing together all players in the tourism and transport industries so that issues hindering the growth of the two sectors can be tackled without sentiments.
“It is essentially meant to provide the platform to deliberate on the complex relationship between transport provision and tourism in boosting the nation’s economy. Furthermore, it is to offer a conducive avenue to experts and policy makers in conjunction with key players and operators in the industry to brainstorm on the interconnectedness between transportation and tourism, a connectivity brought by road, rail, maritime, and air transport services and chart the way forward for both sectors and extension, reposition them in the economic diversification drive of the President Mohammadu Buhari – led administration.”
Declaring the summit open, Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, commended the organisers for the initiative, which he said has the potential to galvanise the two sectors and related industries to boost the economy of the country.
Mustapha reiterated the commitment of the federal government to massive investment in building the country’s infrastructure and the pursuit of peace and security in order to achieve inclusive socio-economic development of the country.
He said for tourism to thrive, the country needs to be at peace, giving assurance of the federal government resolve to handle the various challenges confronting the country while suing for the support and cooperation of all Nigerians and businesses to move the country forward.
Meanwhile, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCTA), Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello noted that the FCTA was proud to host the summit, which he said offered a platform to chart a better way for the two sectors while calling on all the participants to explore critical issues relating to bridging the gap between transport and tourism sectors.
Some of the keynote speakers at the event included the Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as well as Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who were all represented at the event.
At the end of the two-day summit, participants listed Policy summersaults, under utilisation of modern technology, dearth of data and inadequate human and institutional capacity as some of the factors responsible for the drawback in the two sectors. While noting that low-level participation and poor investment of the private sector are also slowing down growth in the sectors, they observed that poor infrastructure development and also lack of synergy between the two sectors, is not helping to spur sustainable growth and development.
Participants, therefore, called for steady government policies, stronger public private partnership to grow both sectors, noting that strong human and institutional capacity and use of modern technology to conduct tourism and transportation activities are key if Nigeria is to witness sustainable growth and development in the two sectors.
The summit also tasked relevant tourism agencies to intensify efforts in the promotion and marketing of Nigerian tourism for both domestic and international markets while urging the federal government to liberalise the aviation sector in order to attract massive private investment.
Participants at the summit charged government at different levels and operators in the two sectors to facilitate and ensure the implementation of the recommendations adopted for the socio-economic development of the country.
Beside the talk shop, which was very engaging and robust, equally engaging and colourful was the expo session, which had a number of companies, including government agencies and ministries, exhibiting different products and services for the benefit of the public.
The summit climaxed with an award and gala night, which held on the second day. It was quite an entertaining night with Atunda Entertainment artistes offering a commanding performance. Some of the awardees include Rotimi Amaechi, Hadi Sirika, Hadiza Bala Usman, Frank Nneji, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Capt. Muhtar Usman, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, Alhaji Muneer Bankole and Otunba Wanle Akinboboye.
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