Tourism expert calls on relevant authorities to harmonise tourism data
A Tourism Consultant, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu on Thursday called on the relevant authorities to harmonise tourism data for effective development, management and sustenance of the industry. Ndu, who is the Managing Director, African Renaissance Link, an NGO which promotes African culture and tourism, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He said that the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, National Bureau of Statistics and other stakeholders should provide accurate data to improve the tourism industry. He said that the variables for which tourism and culture data were collected should be organised to highlight the importance of a databank in the Industry. ``Databank is a repository of information on one or more subjects in a way that facilitates information retrieval and for meaningful planning and budgeting. ``It helps to show the significance of tourism’s economic contribution which can give the industry greater respect from both government officialsand the general public. ``This prospect will also make a more convincing and persuasive argument for government to support projects and developments in the tourism and culture industry.’’ He said that a tourism data base would also be useful in the monitoring and evaluation of ongoing projects and budgets. ``We must have accurate information that will enable policymakers to measure the impact of past policies and projects, thus helping us know the extent to which the set objectives were attained. ``It will also help in assessing the likely impact of proposed projects and policies, thereby helping in making better decisions and good estimates regarding the current and future developments in the industry,’’ he said. According to Ndu, ``the availability of appropriate data enables stakeholders to measure the contribution of the tourism and hospitality industry to the nation's GDP. ``With accurate data on the benefits of investment and promotion of tourism, visitor facilities and infrastructure, the industry will be able to key into prevailing global best practices." Ndu added that the effects of regulatory policies on tourism business, value of partnerships, returns on investments in tourism development, and benefits of international efforts and cooperation would help grow tourism. ``Can you imagine what will happen if we have a data bank of the number of hotels, rooms available in hotels and the number of rooms occupied in ordinary days, special and festival days? ``Length of nights stayed, expenditure in hotels, transportation, food and drinks, number of festivals, their dates, durations, number of workers involved, wages, revenue received by operators and revenue received from products and services.’’ He therefore called on the appropriate bodies to take tourism data bank seriously for the development and growth of the industry.