The Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), says the Presidential Committee on Tourism (PCT) is key to the implementation of Nigerian Tourism Master Plan.
FTAN’’s President, Chief Tomi Akingbogun said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
“The Information and Culture Minister did well to resuscitate the PCT where the president of the country is expected to sit and deliberate on issues on the development of tourism.
“Though his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to sit with the committee; this committee remains instrumental to moving Nigerian tourism sector to the next level.
“However, it is very important that the president sits with the committee; even if he is not going to attend all the time, his attendance will give the body the driving force to get tourism on the go,’’he said.
In terms of providing the sector with the requisite infrastructure, Akingbogun added that the minister was up to the task.
“The minister is very proactive; he knows that he cannot tell the minister of works to do a road to a tourist site in a community.
“The president is the only one that can say `for us to get Ogbunike Cave to attract one million visitors in a year, the minister of works should do the road.
“The minister of works will then get in touch with the Anambra State governor and work will start; so that is why they say tourism is inter-ministerial,’’ Akingbogun said.
On the issuance of visa for prospective tourists, the FTAN president told NAN that the relevant ministry would have to rely on a directive from the president to address the issue.
He stressed that it was only the president that could say “look, I don’t want the issuance of visas to visitors to be more than five minutes’ and such would be done without delay.
“So for the implementation of the Nigerian Tourism Master Plan, the PCT has to start sitting with the president.
“I am positive that the president will do that because that is the only way to get tourism moving; we have waited for ten years to get to a point that we want to start now.
“A lot of money was spent on the Tourism Master Plan, so we cannot afford to sit for too long, especially at the time of economic recession.
“We have been saying that tourism has the potential to replace revenue from oil; this is the time to act now; I believe that when the PCT starts sitting, tourism will excel,’’ Akingbogun submitted.
NAN reports that the Nigerian Tourism Master Plan was drafted more than ten years ago with assistance from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
The PCT, which has been dormant for many years, has been resuscitated by the minister, Mohammed.