In search of sustainable destination through tourism reportage
In a bid to equip tourism reporters with skills and knowledge needed to communicate effectively, the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), in collaboration with National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) recently hosted tourism journalism communication training for members Association of Nigerian Journalist and Writers of Tourism (ANJET).
Though was meant for the Tourism Writers, it was also made to include media teams from NIHOTOUR, NCAC, Ministry of Information and Culture as well as NTDC.
Held at the Hotel Rosebud, Central Business District, Abuja, the four-day training has as its theme, Building a Sustainable Destination through Tourism Reportage.
Declaring the session open, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, ably represented by the Director of Domestic Tourism Mrs. Opakirite J. Nzobwu, commended the partners for creating a platform for intellectual engagement and exchange of ideas.
While the welcome address was delivered by the Acting Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Alhaji Momoh A.M Kabir, goodwill messages were given by the Directors General, National Council for Arts and Culture, (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe (OON) represented by Mrs. Lami Ishaba; Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker represented by Mrs. Adamma Afanga; and that of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Alhaji Yakubu Ibn Mohamed represented by Mrs. Maimuna Garba.
Others, who spoke at the opening session include the President Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Alhaji Rabo Saleh; National President, Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN), Mr. Samson Aturu; First Deputy National President, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agency (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye and President of ANJET, Mr. Andrew Okungbowa, who thanked the sponsors for the opportunity given to tourism reporters to expand their knowledge of the sector.
The technical session of the training, which featured 10 well researched, articulated and thought provoking papers, were presented by experts in the sector An Overview of the Travel and Tourism Industry by Sadat Umoru Lakorok (NIHOTOUR); X-raying the Dynamics of Tour and Travel Business by Alhaji Ahmed Ojuolape, MD/CEO Empire Travels and Tours Ltd., represented by Mary Sadat Lakorok; Journalism Ethics and Tourism Reportage by Ahmed M. Sule; Management and Significance of Tourism Satellite Accounts by Yama Madugu, and New Media and Digital Tourism by Bridget Yellow Duke.
Other papers presented at the training include Approaches to Destination Management by Elijah Sheleph Dabak; Multi-Modal Concept for Tourism Development in Nigeria by Dr. Ghali Sheriff of the University of Abuja; Global Ethics of Tourism by Edwin Enenta; Branding and Marketing of Nigerian Tourism for Global Acceptance by Emeka Agbasiere, and Environment/Climate Change: Impact on Sustainable Tourism Development by Solomon Ugande, NIHOTOUR
The technical session also featured interactions with NIHOTOUR and NCAC, where tourism writers were intimated of the giant strides the parastatals have made, as well as some of the challenges facing them.
At the end of the training, participants noted tourism is beneficial to individuals, communities, states and nations. Therefore, there is need for all stakeholders to live up to expectation and turn the potentials of the sector into reality. They also agreed that greater co-ordination is needed between stakeholders, to ensure sustainable tourism development in the industry.
The session also agreed that the role of travel writers goes beyond reporting, as they are indeed a pressure group that can facilitate rapid change in the industry.
Participants also noted that Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is a critical tool for tourism development, urging the ministry and agencies in charge to adopt realistic approach towards having a useful tourism statistics in Nigeria.
The communiqué also observed that tourism and culture agencies need to make their presence felt and be functional in every state, considering the importance of their mandates to tourism development, while Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in charge of tourism should be adequately funded for better performance.
The session equally agreed that there’s a dire need to privatize the tourist sites to make them functional. It argued that, for tourism to receive the desired attention from the government, a full Ministry of Tourism and Culture should be put in place.
While urging relevant agencies of government on tourism to create platforms to educate operators, managers of tourism destination and communities on crisis management, participants said tourism Journalist owes the industry the duty of balanced reportage in accordance with professional code of conduct and ethics.
For the impact of tourism to be felt in Nigeria, the communiqué stated, infrastructural facilities such as roads, airports, rail and waterways must be developed and well maintained, adding that there’s need to enlighten airport users on areas/zones for photo shoot.
The participants appreciated NIHOTOUR, NTDC and NCAC for making the training a reality, while agencies were implored to make the training programme a yearly event, in view of its importance to tourism promotion and development.