THE Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) on Thursday said that the Nigerian tourism industry could only function optimally if government created the enabling environment for tourism businesses to thrive.
Alhaji Abdulhamid Sherif, National Vice President of ITPN, during the Lagos Tourism Roundtable, said tourism growth entailed deliberate efforts from the government, practitioners and communities.
The roundtable programme held in Lagos, had its theme as “Lagos Tourism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.
According to Sherif, when government creates the needed environment, tourism practitioners will continue to invest while communities take such investments as theirs by nurturing it well enough to grow.
” Tourism growth is dependent on communities, government and the practitioners
” Government has paid lip service on tourism for too long, government needs to create the enabling environment for the industry to thrive and create viable policies and infrastructure that would aid the growth of the industry.
” When government fulfils its responsibilities, it now behoves on the practitioners to continue to invest while the communities accept the investments with the aim of ensuring that growth is allowed.
” When these three levels perform their responsibilities, tourism will thrive optimally.
” Also, for any tourism destination to be noticed, competitive and acceptable, such destination must have good human capital base,” he said.
Sherif noted that tourism was an industry of interdependence, which depended on other sectors of the economy to thrive like security, transportation, communication and all.
Mrs Nneka Isaac-Moses, Managing Director, Goge Africa, lamented on the absence of tourism and hospitality related courses in Nigerian schools’ curriculum.
She said the schools’ curriculum did not reflect the realities of today.
According to her, for the industry to thrive well, human capacity development is important.
She, however, advised on the need for practitioners in the industry to constantly motivate their staff to embrace self improvement and training, considering the cost of training.
She said tourism and hospitality staff in Nigeria should be encouraged to go online to get minimal training while practitioners could also partner with training Institutes to train their staff and be paid in installments.
According to her, it will be unfair to belabour any staff to go for training on their bill.
” If Nigeria is interested in reaping the dividend of tourism, there must be training and retraining, orientation and reorientation, even those in government should be exposed to training,” she said.