The Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN) has come out of its strategic conference with a scorching verdict on Nigeria tourism, lamenting the poor state of the sector over the years.
A communique issued at the end of the conference, which was held in Abuja and signed by both its President, Kabir Malan and Secretary, John Best, the association fingered the non-implementation of the country’s tourism master plan as partly responsible for this poor state of affairs while also coming hard on the operators for not doing enough over the years.
The communique reads in part: ‘‘Conference recognises the debacles in the implementation of the National Tourism Master Plan (NTMP) as being the absence of a sustained programme for capacity development and synergy, in order to bridge knowledge gaps and needed interface between the public and private sectors.
ATPN, therefore, calls for regular sponsored policy workshops for strategic players in the industry without resort to foreign experts.
‘‘That the vastness of the tourism sector requires a multiplicity of channels of communication and representation, for free flow of ideas and in order not to stifle the creative energies inherent in such huge and complex sector.
‘‘Various aspects of the NTMP ought to have been addressed through pilot schemes and rolling plans across the various geographical zones. That the primacy of community tourism as a universal empowerment strategy necessitates a national template that should be contracted through a competitive bidding process to a closed tourism group and in recognition of intellectual properties.’’
Furthermore, ATPN noted: ‘‘That the specific provision for a Tourism Security Committee in the NTMP ought to be among the low hanging fruits for implementation, in view of the urgency and intrinsic role of security in tourism development and our prevailing circumstances. ATPN has a ready framework for tourism security and related solutions.’’
Anyway, not all lamentations as the conference also had a good word for the federal government over its stance on financial autonomy for the local government, a position that they said will fast track tourism development at the local level of pursued with a sense of duty by the officials.
‘‘Conference commends the federal government for its recent implementation of the financial autonomy of Local Governments and enjoins ALGON to partner with ATPN in the installation of the required framework for harnessing the huge tourism potentials in their respective member’s jurisdiction as would positively impact the economic fortunes at the grassroots.
‘‘Conference equally extols the reintroduction of History in the curriculum of schools, with the recommendation that such should serve as a veritable tool for the conservation of our priceless heritage for tourism.’’
A decision to host its annual general meeting later in the year was also reached with a planning committee headed by Tarzan Gani Balogun named and a technical committee headed by Andy Ehanire.
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