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Tourism: Private sector operators task government on infrastructural development


President, SKAL, Julie Tongrit (third left), Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ahmet M. Ulueren (third right) and other members of SKAL at the induction ceremony in Abuja. 

A group of private sector operators in tourism under the umbrella body of SKAL International, Abuja, has charged the government on the development of infrastructure to encourage influx of foreign tourists into the country.
Speaking at the recent induction ceremony and presentation of products in Abuja, the president, Julie Tongrit, noted that lack of social infrastructure as well as the non-viable tourism industry have had a negative impact on their businesses.

According to her, without good roads, developed products and destinations, security as well as stable power supply, it will be difficult for the country to attract an influx of tourists.


“We need the government to provide basic infrastructure that will make Nigeria attractive to tourists for holidays.
“While we strive on our own to bring people to Nigeria for vacation, we need to see that they are secured and that there are basic infrastructures in place.
On the part of the government, we know that challenges are enormous but if it can provide good roads and uninterrupted power supply, it will go a long way to enhance our business of driving the tourism sector”, Tongrit stated.
Expressing how poor infrastructure and quality services affect their activities, the president added:
“Most times, tourists are not satisfied with the state of our roads; they are not satisfied with our hotels and even services provided by hotels.  
“We try to encourage hotel owners to upgrade their facilities to international standards.”
SKAL is an international association of travel and tourism professionals founded in 1934. The Abuja branch was however inaugurated five years ago.
Members comprise tour operators, travel agencies, resort owners, spars, airline operators, clubs, hoteliers, insurance companies as well as media practitioners.
SKAL is an association of tourism professionals including chief executive officers and company owners, which started by friends who felt they could do more of business than pleasure. It is in over 180 countries and it is all about tourism.”

Speaking on their collaboration with Turkish Airline and Turkish government through its embassy in Nigeria, the association president stated that the country has a lot to offer in terms of tourism.
“Nigeria’s partnership with Turkey will help us develop our tourism sector. We are going to learn from them because they have developed their own tourism industry. It will help us bring Turkish citizens into the country.
The highlight of the day was the induction of the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ahmet Melih Ulueren, as a member of SKAL.
The envoy was said to have contributed immensely to the needs of the members in his capacity as the envoy.
With the induction, the association further tasked the envoy to use his position as a member to improve the relationship between his country and Nigeria, particularly in the area of tourism.
In his response, Ambassador Ulueren reiterated commitment to improving the friendship bond between his country and Nigeria.
While Nigerians continue to visit Turkey for both business and leisure, the envoy said he would also like his people to reciprocate by visiting Nigeria to savour the beauty and warms of the people.
According to him, the occasion created an opportunity for both countries to encourage exchange of visitors.

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