Mrs Ime Udo, President, Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) has called for the creation of value for tour operators for the improvement of tourism businesses in Nigeria.
Udo made the call at a roundtable and cocktail with the theme: “Creating values for Tour Operation in Nigeria’ on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that adding value to the business of tour operators, would go a long way in harnessing economic growth in spite of the challenges confronting the industry in recent time.
Udo said it was time for NATOP to create necessary awareness by engaging everyone in the business of tour operation.
“We have realised that as tour operators, we have to come up with a law because we are not given necessary attention.
“We are sitting down with our business partners and everyone involved in this business to discuss on the way forward of the association.
Also speaking, Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), decried the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector.
Coker, who was represented by Mr Friday Anumba, Director of Special Duties, said that before the pandemic, tourism Gross Domestic Product was four to five per cent.
He said that the mandate of NTDC is to promote tourism and sell Nigeria as a tourist destination.
“After COVID-19 pandemic, we are still thriving to ensure that we bring our stakeholders to pace with what is going on in the industry.
“You will quite agree with me that if you are not in the digital world, the person is eventually out of business,’ he said.
The NTDC boss said that the cooperation encourages tour operators to work hard so that people could benefit from their products.
Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), said the institute had trained over 500 tour operators who were not members of NATOP.
Nura, represented by Mr Joesef Karim, Special Adviser, Technical to Kangiwa, said the institute monitor programme on what the tour operators had acquired as regard to basic training.
“Our trainings are based on the demand of the tour operators, we partner with states to create more value in the industry,” he said.
Mrs Susan Akporiaye, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), said that her personal plan as president of the association was for it to operate in lower level.
“Building synergy with hotels owners will make things easy, because such will provide NATOP products and give them the right atmosphere to sell the products,” she said.
Mr Mark More, Managing Director, Motley Travel and Logistic Company, said NATOP was seeking to provide values for tour operations in Nigeria.
He said that before an individual embarks on the business of tour operation, standards and values must be put into consideration.
“What image are we projecting to the world about Nigeria, we have partners who have tourist sites they established in their various countries.
“We know COVID-19 pandemic scattered everything, but before the pandemic where were we, when people visit our country what package do we have? What inventories do we sell for people to buy?
According to him, “we should not allow people to write our analysis, rather we should write it by ourselves.
“We need to tell our story, we know our challenges but you see if you don’t sell your country who will.
“It is a great synergy we have to build together in order to see things running effectively,” he added.
He said that he looked forward to see synergy between NATOP and NANTA.
In attendance were the South African High, Mr T.D Mseleku and Ghanaian High Commissioners to Nigeria and ambassadors. (NAN)