By Priscilla Osaje
National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) has commenced training on Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) to empower youths and women across the six geo-political zones
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the STEP project was aimed at training, equipping and mentoring trainees on hands-on skills and entrepreneurial capacities for successful operations of small businesses (start-ups) in Nigeria’s tourism and hospitality industry value-chain.
Director-General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant, Technical, Joesef Karim, on Sunday in Abuja, said the STEP initiative would stimulate tourism entrepreneurial growth and sustainable development of tourists’ host communities.
Kangiwa said that STEP projects would be implemented across the six-geopolitical zones, starting from Dec. 5, adding that the programme would run from 2022 to 2023.
According to him, the pilot-phase of the STEP project is providing fully-funded hands-on training of displaced youths and women in the making of throw-pillows and duvets, as part of hospitality industry value-chain and tradecraft.
“A total number of 150 youths and women were trained and empowered in NIHOTOUR campuses, including Enugu, Benin, Lagos, Bauchi, Abuja and Argungu in Kebbi State.
“The pilot-phase of the STEP training programme includes hospitality-trade up-skilling in soap making and the sustainability of start-up businesses in the sector,” he said.
The NIHOTOUR boss assured that the training on soap making would be held at the institute’s 12 campuses and training centres across the country.
“The STEP programme is a novel concept of tourists’ host community poverty reduction and manpower development.
“STEP will involve intense ‘learning-by-doing’ curricula where trainees will learn tourism or hospitality product development, services operation and the nitty-gritty of setting up their personal business at the expiration of the programme.
“The STEP website also identified eligible beneficiaries for trainings as women, single, married or widowed and vulnerable youths who are either orphans, abandoned or school drop-outs.
“Others were physically-challenged persons, internally- displaced persons (IDPs), unemployed youths and jobless graduates,” he added.
NAN reports that NIHOTOUR is the apex parastatal in Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and Culture, engaged in training, consultancy, research and publications in order to promote skills development and entrepreneurship programmes for the industry.
The institute is also the coordinating agency for the operation of Hospitality and Tourism Sector Skills Council of Nigeria (HTSSCN).
HTSSCN is a strictly private sector-driven engagements platform for professional associations, unions, employers, stakeholders and major players to meet demand skills-gaps for standards, quality service delivery, improved productivity and contributions to national economy. (NAN)