National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) has advocated for effective awareness creation among Nigerians by government and stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector to facilitate its development.
Mr Barnard Bankole, the President of NANTA made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
“For tourism and hospitality industry to thrive and benefit the Nigerian economy there is need for the right awareness; the private sector has to drive the awareness creation supported by the government.
“The government is aware of the fact that tourism is capable of contributing positively to the growth of the country; the government needs us as their foot soldiers in tourism development.
“The government has different platforms for awareness creation, like radio, television and others; they should give us the opportunity to ride on these platforms to effectively sensitise Nigerians on the need to patronise local tourism.
According to the NANTA president, the government does not have business in managing activities that can be handle by the private sector adding “Government business is formulating and regulating policies.’’
He maintained that government can equally involve in a public private partnership arrangement regarding tourism sites across the country.
Bankole stressed that private firms in developed countries were in charge of supplying guns, weapons and other products, wondering why such cannot be done in tourism in Nigeria.
“The government should allow the private sector to drive some of the initiatives by allowing us create awareness; the same awareness they created about oil made oil what it is today.
“If we do not create awareness about tourism, it cannot grow to a remarkable level of development that would bring in more revenue for the practitioners and government respectively.
“In the oil sector, we have the likes of Mobile, Oando, Total, Fo, and others; they are private companies; the government should help the tourism and hospitality sector to also flourish like them,’’ Bankole said.
He, however said NANTA’s relationship with Ministries of Aviation, Information and Culture has improve significantly adding that it was a sign of good things to come in the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.