The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has advised the Federal Government to re-activate the Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) to fast track the industry’s growth.
Mr Nkereuwem Onung, National President of FTAN, in a statement on Tuesday said this was necessary to make tourism a viable sector of the Nigerian economy.
Onung said this during the 5th National Tourism and Transportation Summit held in Abuja on Monday.
He said there was a great need to stimulate the states’ apparatus to drive genuine development and promotion of practical tourism in Nigeria.
He noted that the tourism sector had been sidelined because of the absence of a stand-alone ministry to activate its pivotal role as a relevant ecosystem of the Nigerian economy.
“Nigerian government has not realised the contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because we do not have a stand-alone ministry.
“When you add up the contribution of transportation and you bring aviation and other allied tourism sector business that made up the value chain together, it will give you an incredible outlook of data and inflow that will blow your mind.
“We have many people who are doing events and because they think tourism is not viable, they begin to get into an alliance with other departments of the economy.
“And that is why we want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to re-enact the PCT, where the eight different ministries will be brought together so that tourism will find focus in Nigeria.
“We were told that tourism resides with the states but we know that tourism should be a national phenomenon and that is the problem we have,” he said.
Onung said transportation was not the only problem confronting the tourism industry as he highlighted others as the non-availability of the functional master plan and outdated tourism policies.
He, however, called for serious dialogue between tourism stakeholders and government at all levels to see to how these problems could be tackled
“It is time for us to sit together to explore the lowest hanging fruit of tourism for the development of our country.
“This industry needs help and that is why I am asking the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Information and Culture, to take the message back to our Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,” he said