Pay adequate attention to development of culture industry, Runsewe urges
Runsewe, who made the call at the 43rd annual general meeting of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) held in Lagos, noted that culture provides a major content for the development and growth of tourism.
He emphasised the need for adequate attention to be the marketing and promotion of Nigeria’s cultural products and tourism destinations. He observed that most of the products are relatively unpopular or even unknown because they are not marketed to the outside world.
The NCAC boss noted that culture and tourism are interwoven and should not be separated because tourism in life while culture is a way of life. He also observed that that the problem of the industry is that of mistrust and disagreement among the players in the industry.
According to him, the industry is too big and wide for all stakeholders to operate without antagonising themselves. He urged players in the industry to eschew unhealthy rivalries and competition.
He noted that when the state government cancels a festival like the Argungu Fishing Festival, for one year, it would take another 20 years to bring it back. He encouraged NANTA members to see the AGM as a networking platform for stakeholders to interact and move the industry forward and not just an annual ritual.
In his remarks, the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folarin Coker noted that the challenge of tourism in Nigeria is lack of legal framework to move the industry forward. He lamented that the laws that governs the tourism industry are over 40 years, obsolete and need to be changed.
The NTDC boss stressed the need for the industry practitioners to embrace digital technology, adding that it is the future of tourism. He noted that part of the problem of tourism in the country is the negative talks about the country by Nigerians.
Earlier in his address, president of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Bernard said that in the last one year, emphasis has been mainly on advocacy and enactment of its legislative bill (NANTA Act). He added that the bill has moved from the lower house to the point of consideration for a third reading.
According to him, NANTA has worked with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) in the last one year to eliminate counterfeit travel agencies among its members.
“This singular act has reduced the number of counterfeit travel agencies around, but has not completely eliminated them. We hope with the measures put in place, we would have an almost perfect downstream sector with special emphasis on sharing of information and data within this industry,” he said
Bankole said the NANTA ID Card introduced last year has received great support from embassies, Nigerian Immigration and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in checking the validity of travel agencies within their scope of operations.
Speaking at the event, the former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Jokotola Pelumi tasked NANTA to always create value for the industry, stressing that the tourism industry has not feared well, adding that this ought not to be the way.
The former Speaker pledged commitment to the success of NANTA in area of legislation, active support for its activities.
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