By Taiye Olayemi
The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has called on the Federal Government to consider earmarking palliative funds for the
Industry to boost its operations.
Mr Nkereuwem Onung, FTAN’s National President , made the charge at a news conference in Lagos on Wednesday
Onung said that industry had been neglected for a long time, hence the need for government to support with palliative funds.
According to him, the federal government had neglected the tourism industry over the last seven years.
“We wish to place on record that from our observations, priority has not been translated into physical reality and transformation of our sector, which is globally acknowledged as a multi-layered sector.
“The industry is the largest employer of labour and has been neglected with no basic policy direction, programmes and activities initiated in partnership with the private sector to improve contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Onung noted that the industry’s stakeholders were maltreated in the year 2020 during the outbreak of COVID-19 as the palliatives from the Federal Government had not been disbursed to the stakeholders.
He said the stakeholders in the aviation sector received N4 billon and those in the transportation sector got N2.6 billion but the tourism practitioners had received nothing from the federal government.
“In the difficult era of COVID-19 when most of the MDAs worked closely with the private sector to devise palliative for survival strategies, a creative industry committee was set up to work out palliatives for the sector.
“Unfortunately, the recommendations of the committee and the review committee are not implemented.
“Nigerian tourism industry must be sanitised and we have written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on this because we want to experience remarkable growth in our industry,” he said.
Onung also said that the Nigerian tourism policies which had become obsolete and needed to be reviewed and updated had also suffered neglect.
He noted that major tourism infrastructures which were meant to be built and properly managed had been ignored.
He, however, advised on creation of sole tourism ministry, separated from information and culture as it was currently run, adding that this would help in the growth of the industry.
He said due to the irregularities in the industry, the federation would not attend the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference slated for November.
According to him, the Nigerian tourism industry must be sanitised before hosting such international event. (NAN)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran