Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Proposed NTDC bill ‘vexatious, lacks capacity’ -- ANJET

 
Travel and tourism writers in the country have described the proposed  Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Act Cap N137 LFN, 2004 (Repeal Re-enactment) Bill, 2017 (SB.429),which came up for public hearing on the floor of the senate, last week, as ‘confusing, vexatious and lacks the capacity and sincerity of purpose.’
 
In a statement, released Monday, the group under the auspices of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Editors of Tourism (ANJET) cited contentious provisions concerning the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Tourism Development Levy (TDL) in the proposed bill as an indication of the fact that ‘NTDC wants to muzzle everyone in the country, including corporate businesses and tourists, which among others it is proposing to pull money from.’
 
It would be recalled that the NTDC had proposed a bill before the National Assembly in which it sought to repeal the original but controversial act which established it in 1992 as well as insert new provisions into a new law that empowers it to, among others control and expand funding sources for the corporation.
 
However, stakeholders in the industry have picked holes in the proposed bill even as they have also mounted criticisms against the document with the umbrella body of travel and tourism operators, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) presenting its own dissenting position paper at the August 9 hearing.
 
“Other critical and vexatious provisions in the bill include the sections on Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Tourism Development Levy (TDL). These two put together, clearly shows that NTDC wants to muzzle everyone in the country, including corporate businesses and tourists, which among others it is proposing to pull money from.
 
Chairman Senate Committee on Tourism, Mathew Uhrohide, with Tourism Minister, Lai Muhammed
 
 
“Other than the fact that NTDC don’t have such powers, it also lacks the capacity and sincerity of purpose to do so and administer these funds in a transparent manner and more importantly, it is way of denying the private sector the opportunity to muster funds on their own for their businesses.
 
“The two provisions are confusing and go against the grains of the TDF and TDL provisions and recently the Tourism Development Bank (TDB), which the private sector operators have been clamouring for and which was later approved by the Federal Government and even contained in the National Tourism Master plan provisions, which was recently reviewed by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
 
“Beside these, there are other areas of ambiguities, which make NTDC a busybody in other areas and tend to confer on it powers and functions outside it and for which it lacks the structure and capacities to carry out. For instance, the provision for the establishment for a tour company, which though is not new but for the addition of ‘to operate tour services within and outside Nigeria,’ is in total negation of its primary duties, which is to promote domestic tourism and inbound and not outbound tours,” ANJET said in the statement.
 
Continuing, ANJET said: “No country national tourism agency seeks to promote outbound tours as being proposed by NTDC bill but inbound. By this provision, which FTAN and its member association, Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), have opposed because it tends to take away their businesses by the corporation setting itself in direct competition with the people which the corporation had pledged to protect, promote and boost their operations, but clearly shows that those currently at the helm of affairs at NTDC, lack total understanding of what their role should be and therefore, should be flushed out of the place before they set the gear of tourism in reverse mode.”
 
ANJET, while flaying the proposed bill as defective, as it alienates the NTDC from the body of travel and tourism operators in the country, said the bill made no attempt to locate NTDC under any ministry as it is the case with other ministries, agencies and agencies of government (MDAs).
 
“Another issue that totally shows how defective the bill is, is the fact that NTDC is seeking to make itself an orphan in the Nigerian environment, because the bill does not locate NTDC under any ministry as it is the case with government parastatals. At present, the corporation is under the Ministry of Information and Culture but nowhere under this new bill was the ministry mentioned or even Ministry of Tourism which is being clamoured for by the Senate itself, except the bland reference to a ‘minister.’”

The travel and tourism writers, therefore, advised the senate to avoid passing the proposed bill in its original form ‘to avoid the imminent doom and implosion in tourism.’
 
“The Senate committee should rise to the occasion by doing the needful. That means, it needs to properly scruntise the document, the various summations during the public hearing, the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended, the ruling of the Supreme Court of 2013 on the matter of tourism and the extant laws of NTDC 1992,” it said.
 
Also remarking, immediate past president of FTAN and chairman of its Board of Trustees, Samuel Alabi, who is also a legal practitioner, described the proposed NTDC bill said as an ‘illegality.’
 
‘‘It appears the drafters of the bill are not aware of the import of the Supreme Court judicial pronouncement on the status of tourism in the 1999 constitution as amended. By the Supreme Court decision, tourism has been held to be a residual matter, and therefore, only state Houses of Assembly could validly legislate on it.
 
‘‘It is laughable that what the Supreme Court had dismantled in 2013 on the basis of the 1999 constitution is now been reassembled by the Senate without first amending the relevant 1999 constitution. It is like reinventing the will, pure and simple,’’ said the Legal Adviser of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.
 
Similarly, in its rejoinder to the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Act Cap N137 LFN, 2004 (Repeal Re-enactment) Bill, 2017 (SB.429), the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), also contested amendments sought by the corporation.
 
The FTAN in its own position paper presented on the floor of the Senate by its President, Alhaji Rabo Saleh Kareem, faulted Section 4 (c) Membership of the Governing Board; Section 15 (c) Functions of the Corporation; Section 15 (d) Functions of the Corporation; Section 16 (f) – Functions of the Corporation (continued);
 
Other contentious portions of the proposed bill, according to FTAN, include: Section 18 – Establishment of a Tour Operating Company; Section 22 (f) and (g) Funds of the Corporation; Section 26 & 28 – Establishment and object of Tourism Development Fund; Section 29 – Tourism Development levy, which the association must be expunged from the proposed bill.
 
Particularly for  Section 29, titled; ‘Tourism Development levy’, FTAN said the ‘entire prayers sought for inserting this section and clauses into the amendment are ill conceived and would make the Levy inoperable on ground, more so there would be no transparency in the processes.’
 
According to FTAN, “Tourism Development levy should be collected on the site where it is applicable by the operators and immediately paid into the bank accounts of Tourism Development Fund. Tourism Development levy should be the primary source of funding for the Tourism Development Fund.”
 
Also, commenting on the document, a tourism expert, Dr. Franklin. J. Adejuwon, advised that the bill should treat the NTDC as a regulatory and supervisory agency of government and ‘not an autocratic organization that would begin conflicting with Minister’s powers or encroaching on the rights of the people,’ adding further that ‘tourism is entirely based on human relations and influence. The bill must therefore attend to these tendencies in its contents.’
 
Adejuwon chaired the Presidential Committee which drafted the original National Tourism Masterplan that was adopted by the former President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s administration and launched by Chief Adetokunbo Kayode as then Minister of Tourism and National Orientation.
 
Continuing, Adejuwon said: “The proposed bill should limit the cooperation to giving guidelines only and follow up with state governments to operate within the guidelines. We should remember when a situation is within the concurrent list, state governments have direct powers to do and undo. There cannot be any imposition of powers by federal government in this aspect. Inspectors can only operate through state organisations responsible for tourism. Let us avoid building an empire for NTDC at the expense of poor people who wish to earn a living and provide jobs for other people by investing in the industry.”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CNN Stephanie Busari Is Moderator At Luxury Lifestyle Summit


TOPCOMM PR and The Luxury Reporter, organisers of The Luxury Lifestyle Summit have confirmed CNN Africa Editor, Stephanie Busari as the moderator of the panel discussions at the inaugural Summit billed to take place on September 06 and 07 2017 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Stephanie Busari is coming with her wealth of experience working for CNN, the most viewed international news network in Africa. She will be engaging panelists on various issues on the Nigerian and generally African luxury sector.
According to Busari: "The luxury sector in Nigeria is fast growing and it is important to have a conversation about how the industry can scale and grow. I think the Luxury Lifestyle Summit will have some very interesting talking points and I am looking forward to engaging the panelists at the Summit.”
With the theme of the summit, Digital Inside - Get Wired to Deliver the Ultimate Luxury Experience, panellists from different sectors of the luxury market will discuss relevant topics aimed at creating important discourse to improve the luxury brands and promote consumption of the Nigeria luxury market.
Earlier, Paul Andrew, Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, African Wealth Report, a research and intelligence publication of Blackpace Africa has been confirmed to spearhead the array of other notable speakers to discuss key issues affecting the growth and development of the Nigerian luxury industry.
With over two decades of global investments and wealth advisory experiences, Andrew who is based in Geneva, Switzerland, brings an exceptional knowledge of African and global luxury practice to The Luxury Lifestyle Summit in Lagos.
Also, Daniel Weihrauch, CEO of Lions&Gazelles and RAIN’s group consulting partner for Middle East and Africa, will be speaking at the summit. The German born global traveller, will bring his wealth of experience in the luxury hospitality industry to the summit.
Other speakers confirmed for the summit include: Oliver Williams, CEO, Firebreak Group and a founding member of Wealth Insight, a leading wealth consultancy advising clients in over 15 countries; and Funmi Onajide, Founder, Regalo African Luxury Store, a concept store which stocks high end leather goods, tea range among others sourced from Africa will also be speaking at the Luxury Lifestyle Summit in Lagos.
The summit will provide a veritable platform for diverse retailers of jewellery, beauty, motor, watches, private equity, investment Banking, private banking, investment / asset management, architecture, travel companies, luxury Hotels, luxury Event Management companies, luxury service providers, airlines and others to showcase their products and discuss how to maximise the online market.
Other discussants at the summit include: Mr. Abiona Babarinde, Group General Manager, Marketing and Communications, Coscharis, Mrs. Kavita Chellarams, CEO, Arthouse Contemporary, Mr. Ejiro Onobrakpeya, expert in African art, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, KPMG, Mr. Kayode Kasunmu, the Executive Director, Beauty Bar and Essenza who has been a player in the Luxury Industry in Nigeria for over 30 years.
The summit is the brainchild of The Luxury Reporter, publisher of the e-magazine, TLR in partnership with TOPCOMM PR Concept & Events, an integrated marketing communication and events management company with sponsorships from Balmoral, African Wealth Report, BlackPace, Lions&Gazelles, Regalo African Luxury, FireBreak Group, Access Bank, Sun International, Delta Air Lines, South African Airways, GHI Assets and Emirates Holidays.





World Tourism Day 2017 celebrated on the theme Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development


This year’s World Tourism Day, held on 27 September, will be focused on Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development. Celebrated in line with the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Day will be dedicated to exploring the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
World Tourism Day has been celebrated since 1980 on September 27, the day in which the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) entered into force. Peace and Dialogue, Energy, Accessibility, World Heritage and Water and Tourism have been some of the topics tackled on the 37 previous editions of World Tourism Day.


Image result for qatar tourism authority
“Last year alone, 1.235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion. The question, as we celebrate World Tourism Day 2017, is how we can enable this powerful global transformative force, these 1.8 billion opportunities, to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its three pillars. This World Tourism Day, whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to respect nature, respect culture and respect your host,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
The official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2017 will be held in Qatar, as decided by the UNWTO General Assembly.
The event will be structured around two sessions, focused on ‘Tourism as a driver of economic growth’, and ‘Tourism and the Planet: committed to a greener future’. In addition, a high-level think tank will be conducted with the aim of opening the debate on the potential of the sector to enhance cultural preservation and mutual understanding.
On the Agenda will also be the presentation of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy, which advances sustainable approaches.

Image result for qatar tourism authority

The initiative is aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030, which focuses on Economic, Social and Human Development and prioritizes tourism as a catalyst to progress towards a more diversified economy.

Monday, August 7, 2017

There are many ways to boost domestic tourism – Coker

There are many ways to boost domestic tourism – Coker
…to repackage Oct. 1 celebration
ABUJA – The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker has said that there are many ways to promote tourism sector with little government resources through collaboration of public and private sectors.
To this end, he said they are working assiduously to ensure a complete repackage of the October 1 Independent Day Celebration to boost domestic tourism in the country.
Coker stated this at Delphino Picnic tagged; ‘Spreading Happiness’, organised in collaboration with the NTDC, in Abuja.
The Berger Shooting Range close to Jabi Lake (venue of the picnic), which had been all this while an exclusive of the ‘high class people’ in Abuja, came alive as social class that had been the barrier of accessing the park was stripped just with N2000 gate fees.
Music of various lyrics, sports and other extracurricular activities were at different spots going on at the park that was filled to its capacity with both old and young, enjoying different side attractions, as security of the park was never a concern.
The DG, who spoke to Journalists in an ecstatic mood, suggested that having something like Independence Picnic going on simultaneously in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would be a fantastic concept.
“October 1, for instance, what do we do? We have a (military) parade on the day we are celebrating our independency. Now, national day celebration, it is a time, this kind of event should happen in every state, every local government area in Nigeria. No matter how bad it is, there is a reason (for us) to celebrate,” he said.


The DG said the idea would be achieved by “bringing different assets together; music, sports, vendors, stage performance, lights, events planners, etc. it is not something that NTDC must do it, the state government can do it, the local government can do it, anybody can connect to these new values we have, in terms of our cultural heritage, sport, among others.”
Coker maintained that government at the state and local government levels did not need to panic over the paucity of funds, but should rather approach the private sector for partnership to boost the tourism sector at their various levels.
“Do you see any government money here? Nobody is asking state government to spend government money in doing this. What you see here is a government brand ‘Tour Nigeria’ that is promoting domestic tourism that is asking people to come out for their own and have fun together.
“This is about a private sector in partnership with government, driving the consumption of our tourism assets, not about spending government resources,” the DG clarified.
NTDC Boss explained that the Delphino Picnic had been on in Abuja, and that, the corporation just partner with the company to promote domestic tourism in the nation’s capital. “It is just people coming together in public space to enjoy what is abundance in Nigeria.”


In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Delphino Entertainment, Onoja Adole said the event was part of their token to resuscitate domestic tourism in the nation’s capital through entertainment.

Monday, July 31, 2017

FG to rebuild Sukur World Heritage Site destroyed by Boko Haram


The National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM), says it is exploring ways to rebuild the Sukur world heritage site in Adamawa destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.

The Director-General of the commission, Malam Yusuf Usman, who made the disclosure in an interview on Monday in Abuja, said that efforts were also on to address conservation challenges at Osun-Osogbo Grove in Osun State.

“Provisions have been made in the 2017 budget to address the conservation challenges of the Sukur site and Osun-Oshogbo sacred grove. These are both national monuments.

“Secondly, UNESCO has also made provisions for assistance to Nigeria to address these challenges.

“So in the coming weeks, you will see lot of activities around Sukur Cultural Landscape to address those conservation challenges following the attack of Boko Haram insurgents,’’ he said.


Image result for sukur world heritage site

The NCMM boss added that the target was to restore the conservation status of the sites, ensure they attain cresting stage and become well maintained enough to attract tourists.

The director general said he expects other agencies to popularise the Sukur site to attract tourists from across the world.

“Our major concern is maintaining the conservation status of the sites and that is what we want to address.

“We also have plans for tourism development and tourists in case of disaster and so on at the sites,’’ Usman said.

Sukur is a stone-age iron smelting community whose history dated back to the Dur Dynasty in the 17th century.

Image result for sukur world heritage site

The Dur had established a major supply link for raw materials needed for iron manufacture to north eastern Nigeria which continued into the first decade of the 20th century.

UNESCO had designated it a World Heritage Site because of its cultural heritage, material culture and the naturally-terraced fields.

Sukur is the first African cultural landscape to receive heritage list inscription in 1999 at the 23rd Session of UNESCO.

NAN also reports that the landscape is located on the hill above the village of Sukur in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa.


It is situated on the Mandara Mountains close to the border with Cameroon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tourism expo to showcase Nigeria’s assets, says organiser

Tourism expo to showcase Nigeria’s assets, says organiser
Mr Ayo Omotoso, the Chief Organiser of Destination Tourism Night, says that the expo will serve as an avenue to showcase Nigeria’s tourism assets to the rest of the world.

Omotoso, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Travelogue Communications Ltd, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that the aim would be “connecting values.

“The more our people cross paths, the better our social, cultural and economic life becomes.

“It will also connect destination values, people from different backgrounds, race and culture together, ” he said.

Omotoso said that the one-day expo would hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Sept. 22.

According to him, Destination Tourism Night is an expository digital tourismtainment, which will savour the offerings of different tourism destinations around the world and Nigeria.

“Our focus is to showcase the hidden tourism destinations in Nigeria to the world.

“ We will achieve that through a digital platform, so that participants can appreciate and savour the tourism offerings of all these notable sites,” he said.

Omotoso said that the expo would be used be an opportunity to send signals to local and international investors, tourists, public and private sectors about the huge tourism potential in the country.

“Some call domestic tourism low hanging fruits but to me, it goes beyond that. It is a virgin sector opened for development and investment.

“It opens up new worlds, new vistas and greater understanding. There are lots of people who have not visited some of the tourism sites in the country.

“The expo will encourage Nigerians and international tourists and investors to visit the numerous tourism sites that the country is blessed with it,” he said.

He said that South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and some other neighbouring countries as well as members of the diplomatic corps would be expected to participate in the event.

He urged the Federal Government to improve on tourism infrastructure and other basic amenities needed to facilitate domestic tourism development.

“Successive governments must use tourism as an instrument to eradicate poverty but to create employment.


“Government should also encourage public and private partnership for tourism to thrive in the country, ” he said.

AFAC Expo: 24 countries, 150 exhibitors to participate – Runsewe


The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says it is expecting at least 25 countries and 150 exhibitors at the 10th African Arts and Crafts (AFAC) Expo scheduled for Abuja.

The Director-General, NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, made this known in an interview in Abuja.

Runsewe said that participants from these countries and the exhibitors were expected to showcase their unique cultural identities at the expo to hold from Aug. 27 to Sept. 17.

He expressed commitment to justifying his appointment by using culture as the only tool to change the narratives of Nigeria.

“This time, we want to depart from having expo without media content so we need an overwhelming publicity for the event.

“The expo will be a market place for showcasing arts and crafts products such as fabrics, leather and souvenirs from Nigeria and other African countries.

“The expo is also apt as Nigeria needs to record remarkable achievements in developing the culture industry to enviable heights through festivals like AFAC,’’ he said.

Runsewe said that the expo, with the theme: “Nigerian Crafts: The Untapped Treasure” would be geared toward harnessing and developing arts and crafts and other creative industries in the country.

“It will be a unique opportunity for artists, craft dealers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to buy and sell their brands.’’

According to him, the expo will play a key role toward job creation and economic empowerment.

NCAC is a Federal Government organ charged with the responsibility of coordinating, developing and promoting the country’s arts and culture at national and international fora.

The council focuses its programmes and projects toward positively changing the perception about culture and cultural activities as serious business opportunities.


It portrays arts and culture as tool for the promotion of peace, social integration and national identity.