By Cosmas Omegoh
As Nigeria joined the rest of the Tourism World to celebrate the United Nations World Tourism Day, President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr Nkerewuem Onung says the new normal has revealed the need for strategic action plan which must bring tourism stakeholders together and create project(s) that will benefit of all.
Nkerewuem who spoke at the sidelines of the World Tourim Day which was hosted by Kebbi State government in collaboration with National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), noted the federation under his watch, would work with the Federal Government to ensure that industry operators and investors are not left behind in the focal agenda to reinvent the wheel of tourism business in Nigeria.
“We are determined to bring something new to the table and also mindful of the fact, that the Ministry of Tourism and its ten agencies are pivotal to the dreams, to ensure no industry player or viable cultural tourism projects are left behind or allowed to fallow,” he further explained.
He reiterated that government must help the industry back on its feet and wondered why the palliatives promised the industry associations and players were yet to materialise, adding that government must through such intervention, prove that it cares and also appreciates the critical presence and job-creating values of the avant garde cultural tourism industry.
“I must commend the resilience and doggedness of the private sector for the rebound of the sector after the COVID-19 regulations ambushed its growth and also without help anywhere, with unforgettable lessons learnt that time has come for us, government and the private sector to work together and not leave anyone behind.” The FTAN president further offered insight into the significance of celebrating the tourism day with the theme: “All inclusive Tourism.”
Speaking at the event, aided by NIHOTOUR, Mr Onung praised the state government for taking up the financial burden to give Nigeria a podium to celebrate the global festivity, thereby showcasing the rich cultural and agro-tourism economy of Kebbi State noted for its rice pyramid.
“Tourism industry has the capacity to sell the rice paddie fields of Kebbi to the world and also create tour jobs, and opportunities for recreation, and hospitality diversities to thrive and grow into a new economy.
“Yes, we may have security challenges, but it has been proven that if the government and the private sector join hands together, refreshing narratives about our country, our people and culture can help douse socio-political tension which is fueling individualism and insecurity,” he said.
He appreciated the Emir of Kebbi and state government for the investiture of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture as the Kakaki of Kebbi, adding that the traditional and cultural title bestowed on the minister was well deserving, an affirmation that Alhaji Lai Mohammed had done well.
“FTAN rejoices with our minister. He has done well and maybe after this outing, he will put more energy towards getting the industry the palliatives the federal government promised us. We proud are at FTAN and look forward to working closely with the ministry to get everyone, far and near to give Nigerian cultural tourism the mileage expected of its diversity,” he added.