By Emeka Anokwuru
Chief Mike Amachree has commended the management of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Choba for its foresight in establishing the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management under the Faculty of Management Sciences of the institution.
Amachree, former president of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN) and president, Centre for Promotion of Tourism, Peace, Arts and Culture (CEPTAC), made the commendation when students of the department paid him a courtesy visit at the Brooklyn Tourist Centre, Rumuosi, Port Harcourt.
Expressing his happiness with the department, Amachree said the training of manpower in the industry would, in no small measure, aid the supply of more skilled professionals for the tourism industry, which would help in tackling the huge challenges faced by the travel, tourism and hospitality sector in the country.
Amachree, popularly called the Father of Nigerian Tourism, advised the students to take their studies seriously, with the assurance that CEPTAC would always encourage them to achieve set goals.
Amachree also lauded the Rivers State government for establishing a new tourist site by building the Port Harcourt Leisure Park and the recent rehabilitation of the road leading to the Port Harcourt Tourist Beach Resort.
Also speaking at the occasion, Prof. Joe Alagoa, the head of CEPTAC’s research team, assured the students of the commitment of the centre and praised them for their enthusiasm to make a living from tourism.
On his part, the president of the National Association of Hospitality Management and Tourism Students, UNIPORT, Williams Emmanuel, told Amachree and the CEPTAC director that the visit was to gain from CEPTAC’s wealth of experience in the tourism industry. Emmanuel said, as students of tourism and hospitality management, they were encouraged by the recognition accorded to tourism stakeholders by the Rivers State government, that is, Amachree, Alegoa and King Alfred Diete-Spiff, during the recent golden jubilee celebration of the state.
While acknowledging that government alone could not tackle the challenges of developing tourism in the country, Emmanuel called for synergy between government and the private sector to grow the industry in the country.