The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and other stakeholders in the tourism sector on Wednesday rejected the proposed `Tourism Bill` currently before the National Assembly (NASS).
They said in separate interviews in Lagos that the proposed bill would render useless the various agencies saddled with the responsibility of contributing to tourism development.
The public hearing of the bill titled, “The NIHOTOUR Bill’’ sent to NASS by the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) would hold on June 15.
The NTDC Director-General, Mr Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, told NAN that NIHOTOUR would be going beyond the mandate for which it was established if the bill is passed into law by NASS.
He said that NIHOTOUR was established, principally, as a training institute for personnel and stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The bill will be giving NIHOTOUR the position of both a trainer and a regulator of everything relating to tourism; thereby disregarding the legality of other parastatal agencies.’’
Folarin-Coker said that the country’s tertiary institutions should be allowed to establish departments that would be training personnel in tourism.
He said that encouraging several tertiary institutions to be part of it would enhance the ease of doing business as enunciated by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo recently.
“It’s time for change and we all must embrace change,’’ Folarin-Coker said.
Also, Mr Bankole Bernard, the National President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), said that NIHOTOUR had no statutory power to regulate tourism affairs in Nigeria.
Bernard said that NIHOTOUR would do well as a directorate under NTDC.
“This is a bill that cannot see the light of the day because NIHOTOUR has no capacity to regulate the huge tourism industry.
“We should have NIHOTOUR as a directorate under NTDC,’’’ he said.
Organiser of the yearly African Travel Market exhibitions “Akwaaba’’, Mr. Ikechi Uko, said that NIHOTOUR was only an institute meant to be training personnel in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Uko said that the institute was not capable of regulating the tourism industry.
He said that the institute should concentrate on its statutory responsibility of training people.
“ I think NIHOTOUR has to be restricted to training of personnel in tourism and hospitality and the government should fund it adequately.
“We have the NTDC which has been saddled with the responsibility of regulating the tourism industry.
“I am therefore calling on government to fund these bodies to be able to perform their duties,’’ Uko said.
Also, Chief Executive Officer of Boomtrust Travels and Tours, Mr Olubunmi Oshindero, said that NIHOTOUR could not be the sole regulator of the sector and also be involved in the training of tourism personnel.
Oshindero said that these responsibilities would be too much for the institute.
He, however, advised that the institute should be left with the responsibility of training and not a regulator.
“I feel the responsibility to regulate tourism industry and train tourism personnel will be too much for NIHOTOUR, ’’Oshindero said.
President, National Association of Travel and Tourism Writers of Nigeria (ATTWON), Mrs. Omolola Itayemi, said that NIHOTOUR was established as a training institute.
Itayemi said that it was not established as a regulator of hospitality outlets in the industry. (NAN)