NIHOTOUR partners ATPN to raise standards in domestic tourism

The Director-General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Nura Sani Kangiwa, has said that domestic tourism is what Nigeria needs to recover faster from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said this while hosting executive members of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN), who paid him a courtesy visit earlier this week in Abuja.

“As you’re aware, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said that 121mn jobs were impacted as of September 2020, creating one of the world’s worst economic crises; so it is encouraging government, people and organisations to collaborate, collaborate, collaborate,” Kangiwa told his guests.

He also stressed that the surest way to re-start tourism is to move beyond virtual events, adding that stakeholders need to come up with more creative ways to provide relevant products and services, including incentivizing their clientele, all of which have the potentials to create more jobs and help the local economy.

“Going by UNWTO’s 2018 Barometer international travel arrivals was 1.4bn, while domestic travel arrivals were 9bn — that’s six times the size of international tourist arrivals,” he said.

The ATPN President, Hassan Zakari, said his team was visiting to explore ways the association could work with NIHOTOUR to grow the tourism industry and to also pledge its support for the institute’s various interventions in the sector.

Also speaking, vice president Efetobo Awhana said the association knows the strategic importance that NIHOTOUR holds for the tourism industry and that the proposed partnership is partly aimed at training younger practitioners who are increasingly seeing tourism as the key to their economic empowerment.

“Over the course of the last few months, we have taken advantage of the pandemic to host a series of webinars and meetings online to sensitise practitioners to see how we can make the best of the many weeks of lockdown and raise the standards even among our members generally,” Awhana, who is also the Founder/CEO of the Nigeria Travel Week, said.

“We want it to be such that we can assist them to understand how they can get relevant trainings to be at par with global industry standards. That’s where we believe that this kind of partnership will help.

“We believe that with our partnership, NIHOTOUR will be able to take that to the next level and see areas where we can train our members, especially the ones who are just coming into the industry as tour operators, tour guides and travel agents.

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Director-General NIHOTOUR Alhaji Nura Sanni with President ATPN Hassan Zakari (R), Vice President Efetobo Awhana (2L) and Pelu Awofeso (L)

Mr Edward Enenta, Head of Travel and Tourism Studies department, said the institute has collaborated with NGOs and government agencies in terms of training, pointing out that it is currently designing training modules for other associations in the travel trade.

NIHOTOUR was established in 1987 to provide basic, intermediate and advance training in hospitality, travel and tourism. It is also the training provider for national vocational qualifications.

Highlighting some of the institute’s other constitutional responsibilities, Alhaji Kangiwa said they included: equipping youth and women with specialized skills, through training and capacity building so that they can effectively and efficiently deliver excellent services in the industry.

“We also conduct tailor-made courses and training to the ever-changing needs of the industry. We are very happy that you came, that you want to work with us to move the tourism industry forward. I’m happy and ready to collaborate with ATPN.”

Dr. Taiwo Famoyegbile, Nihotour’s Director of General Studies and Research, said he appreciated ATPN for its offer of internship spots with its members’ organisations as well as serving as facilitators on some of NIHOTOUR’s courses.

“Providing our students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience on the job, that’s a fantastic idea — it’s a welcome idea,” he added in closing.

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Nigeria gets 10 new National Parks

The Nigerian government has approved the establishment of 10 new national parks across the country. The Conservator-General of the Nigeria Park Service Dr Ibrahim Musa Goni revealed this piece of news while receiving the executive members of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN), who paid him a visit at the Abuja headquarters this week.

This brings the total number of national parks to 17 nationwide.

“His Excellency President Mohammed Buhari has approved these parks to increase Nigeria’s potentials for ecotourism,” he said during the meeting, attended by Hassan Zakari (President, ATPN) and Efetobo Awhana (CEO/ Founder Nigeria Travel Week).

The Conservator-General listed the new parks to be as follows: Alawa Game Reserve (Niger State); Apoi Forest Reserve (Bayelsa State); Edumenum Forest Reserve (Bayelsa State); Falgore Game Reserve (Kano State); Hadejia Wetlands Games Reserve (Jigawa State); Kampe Forest Reserve (Kwara State); Kogo Forest Reserve (Katsina State); Marai Forest Reserve ( Jigawa State); Oba Hill Forest Reserve (Osun State); and Pandam Forest Reserve (Plateau State).

According to Dr Goni, Nigeria also now has the only marine park in West Africa, situated in Bayelsa State in the South-South region. He also noted that the federal government is now in the process of partially commercialising three of the existing national parks: Cross River National Park, Gashaka-Gumti National Park and Kainji Lake National Park.

“The federal government is currently pursuing a PPP arrangement so that it can hands-off the excess load that it is carrying, which will help it lessen its burden and give room for the private sector to invest in these assets,” he said.

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CG National Parks Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni(3L) with Hassan Zakari (2L), Efetobo Awhana ((3R), Yakubu Kolo, Asst CG Ecotourism, Marketing & Publicity (2R) and CP Abong Abong, Head, Ecotourism Div. (R)

In his remarks, Zakari said he was at the Park’s headquarters to seek ways of cooperation between the ATPN and the Parks Service in a bid to contribute to various stakeholder efforts aimed at developing Nigeria’s domestic tourism.

“We want to seek collaboration in ways to promote the parks as a project. We are seeking collaboration also to go on a familiarisation tour of these parks so that our members — who are nationwide — can have first-hand information about all that’s on offer in the various parks. This also will include getting direct access to the park heads to facilitate tour packages designed by our members,” Zakari said.

He also pointed out that the ATPN is keen more than ever to promote safari as a product, because it has not been well promoted in Nigeria.

“Nigeria has seven national parks presently and some countries in Africa which have maybe one or two are doing well in that regard,” he added. “Part of our objectives is to produce a calendar of safari packages that people can buy into, both locally and internationally. One of the most important plans we have is that we want to bring Gashaka-Gumti National Park to limelight. It’s so rich but very much unknown.”

Other plans, he continued, includes the possibility of creating air access to Jalingo, which takes visitors closer to the park.

On his part, Awhana — who doubles as ATPN’s vice president — said there is also a publicity element to the association’s agenda.

“We are also looking at creating some marketing collateral for the Park Service — and by that I mean contemporary brochures and some online digital marketing tools, so that people can know more about the Parks. With ATPN, we’ll put all the information from our proposed fam trip together to produce different sets of marketing materials.”

The ATPN was founded on 25 October 1990. To mark its 30th anniversary, it hosted a webinar in November with the theme: “Driving Economic Sustainability through Tourism: From Rhetoric to Action”.

Speakers included: Marina Novelli (Prof of Tourism and International Development, University of Brighton); Alex Nwuba (Aircrafts Owners and Pilots Association); Ola Wright (West Africa Tourism Organisation); Gloria Guevara Manzo (World Travel and Tourism Council); and Dr Iti Orugbani (Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Development, Bayelsa State)

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The interim National President of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN) announced yesterday during a virtual event, the appointment of 6 interim zonal coordinators for ATPN pending an elective AGM later in the year where new executives will be elected to run the affairs of the association. The appointed interim zonal coordinators are Prince Oluwafemi Fadina of Jethro Tours (South West); Musa Sunusi Ahmad of Smart Outliers (North West); Juliana Tongrit of Orit Travel & Tours (North Central); Ugwu Wilson Uche of iTour Africa (South East); Piriye Kiyaramo, tourism journalist (South South); and Dr Muhammad Adamu of Bauchi Friends (North East).

The interim zonal coordinators will co-lead the implementation of the ATPN Tourism Restart Strategy and be the main point of contact for the association in the different zones and are responsible for driving membership growth within their zones whilst building sustainable relationships with the local governments and their host communities as well as corporate organisations. “The zonal offices will bring ATPN closer to her members as we work towards restarting tourism following the devastation brought about by the Corona virus pandemic”, said ATPN Interim National President Hassan Zakari.

The Association of Tourism Practitioners (ATPN), one of the oldest tourism associations in Nigeria, is a member-driven professional trade association founded in 1990 with the primary purpose of promoting domestic and inbound tourism to Nigeria. It is managed by a committee of tourism experts with a passion for the tourism industry.

Conveying the approval of the Board of Trustees, Alhaji Kabir Malan, the ATPN BOT interim chairman commended the association’s executives for the strides in the last 12 months especially in forging strategic relationships critical to the growth of domestic and inbound tourism in Nigeria. According to Alhaji Kabir, “we must not lose the momentum gained so far especially as we have a short window occasioned by the apathy to international travel to lubricate the tourism value chain in Nigeria and get Nigerians excited about enjoying domestic tourism products”.

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ATPN Appoints Atabo David as the Interim Digital Media and PR Officer

Monday 1 August 2022.

Atabo David has been appointed as the interim Digital Media and PR Officer, according to a statement from the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria.

Atabo David joins the national executive team with a relevant educational background and years of proven work experience across the IT and tourism industries. Atabo David holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Covenant University, Nigeria, an International Diploma (with distinction) in Tourism Management from Tourism School Klessheim, Salzburg, Austria, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Innovation and Management in Tourism at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg, Austria.

Mr. Hassan Zakari, interim president of ATPN, said Atabo "would be a great asset to the association with his combination of tourism management knowledge and digital media know-how."

"The tourism and hospitality industries are going through a difficult but exciting period right now, especially in Nigeria. Effective communication and placement in digital media will be crucial in explaining the problems facing Nigerian tourism practitioners, who are of course association members, and ultimately how the Nigerian tourism business is seen by all audiences. I am thrilled to have joined the ATPN team for these reasons, Atabo stated.

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CBN Acts to Save the Aviation Industry

...Gives Airlines $265 Million to Resolve Outstanding Ticket Sales

ABUJA: In an effort to avert a looming catastrophe in the country's aviation sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disbursed $265 million to airlines operating in the country on Friday, August 26, 2022, to settle outstanding ticket sales.

According to the breakdown, $230 million was released as a special FX intervention, while another $35 million was issued through the Retail SMIS auction.

Confirming the release, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, stated that the Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team were concerned about the development and what it meant for the sector and travelers, as well as the country's standing in the international community.

Mr. Nwanisobi reaffirmed that the Bank was not opposed to any corporation repatriating its funds from the nation, but that what the Bank stood for was an orderly withdrawal for those who were interested.

With the release on Friday, it is believed that operators and travelers would breathe a sigh of relief, as some airlines had threatened to terminate their services due to unremitted cash for outstanding ticket sales.

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The iconic National Theatre in Lagos State, Nigeria, will host global tourism players from around the world for a conference hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) from November 14-16, 2022. "Linking Tourism, Culture, and Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development" is the conference's theme. This is a positive development for Nigeria because it demonstrates the country's comparative advantage in culture and the creative industry, both of which are critical components of the tourism value chain. This point will be discussed further in this article, but first, let's look at some hard facts.

Some will agree that the Nigerian tourism industry is currently in disarray. Prior to the arrival of the current government, the tourism industry had its own ministry; however, tourism is now subsumed under the Ministry of Information & Culture, which industry players see as an anomaly because culture is an element of tourism; as a result of this mismatch, the Ministry's attention is geared more towards agencies under "information," with little attention being given to tourism-related agencies and, as a result, the tourism private sector.

Some practitioners in the private sector claim that there has been no industry-wide engagement with the Minister of Tourism since the government's inception more than 7 years ago, so hosting this UNWTO conference appears to be a misplaced priority. This is not entirely true, as some industry players confirmed that when they arrived, this administration extended hands of fellowship. A series of meetings with the private sector was held to discuss a path forward, but it appears that the private sector's leadership handled the gesture poorly, and we lost out. Perhaps an advocacy and lobbying posture would have been preferable to a daggers-drawn approach.

For two years, the Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the travel and tourism industry, resulting in numerous business and job losses worldwide. Many countries' private sectors received government assistance to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, but the Nigerian government turned a blind eye to tourism practitioners in Nigeria, except for support to travel agents through the Ministry of Aviation. The Ministry of Information and Culture did form a committee to recommend palliative measures for the creative sector, which includes tourism once again, but the committee's report has been gathering dust in the ministry since its submission more than a year ago, with no implementation.

As a result of the lack of support, the industry is on the verge of collapse, with many job losses and closed businesses that may never reopen. Is it possible that the tourism private sector's position was not articulated convincingly in the report? We don't think so, because, in a time like this, both the creative and tourism sectors would have articulated their needs. The industry has been completely ignored by the government. These two issues are the primary reasons why Nigerian tourism private sector practitioners see no benefit in participating in a conference that the Ministry of Information and Culture is hurriedly bidding to host while its house is not in order.

However, in times of crisis, the wise men build bridges, and this UNWTO conference is all about doing just that—between the ministry and the private sector in tourism as well as between the private sector in Nigerian tourism and the international tourism players present. Home affairs are not discussed in public because every nation has some of its own problems.

To get the most out of this "first-ever UNWTO conference on linking tourism, culture, and creatives," all local players should lay down their swords. This conference will help us understand the connections between tourism, culture, and the creative industry, about which we have long argued in various forums. To grasp the significance of this conference for Nigerian tourism, consider the following:

  1. Through this conference, the UNWTO will promote Nigerian tourism on a global scale. It is the first and most powerful declaration of our superiority in terms of culture and creativity in the tourism industry. More than 300 different cultures exist here, and Nollywood is the third-best in the world. No other nation on earth can match the cultural diversity we have, and our films have a phenomenal global impact.
  2. This conference will attract attendees from all over the world and will significantly reinforce Nigeria's safety as a travel destination despite the security issues we are currently experiencing. Countless nations use hosting events to improve their reputation. This will make Nigeria, as a travel destination more competitive.
  3. The participants will make use of cabs, restaurants, and hotels that are all owned by individuals who belong to the various associations that make up Nigeria's private tourism industry. If we really want to speed up recovery, we should use this as a major reason to advertise the conference and attract businesses to practitioners.
  4. In order to put the conference together, event planners, audiovisual specialists, artists, and other professionals will be hired. Printing companies will also be hired to design and print banners, posters, and other conference-related materials. For participants to get to know Nigeria, there will be stage performances and pre and post-conference tours. Each of these suppliers is a part of Nigeria's tourism-related private sector.
  5. Last but not least, souvenirs from fashion designers will be sold by street vendors of arts and crafts. Hosting this event will bring about this benefit, however small, which is one of tourism's main advantages. Because it provides a means of livelihood for the women and rural poor who produce these souvenirs, as tourism is regarded as the lowest-hanging fruit.

Every circumstance has benefits and drawbacks. Even if we are upset, we don't have to throw out the baby with the bathwater and lose the benefits of the conference. Members of the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN) are excited to receive visitors to our fascinating Nigeria!

What are your thoughts? We welcome constructive feedback in the comments section below!


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Nigeria Tourism Triumph Joining UNWTO Executive Council & Emerging as Commission for Africa (CAF) Vice President

Exciting news! The Nigerian tourism industry is gearing up for an incredible rebound, as the Federal Republic of Nigeria claims a spot on the prestigious United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council. This remarkable achievement comes after nearly a decade, marking a triumphant return to the highest echelons of UNWTO! 

But that's not all! Nigeria's rise doesn't stop there. The West African giant has clinched the coveted vice president slot for the Commission for Africa (CAF), joining forces with eleven other African nations to represent the continent's interests on UNWTO's highest decision-making body. 

The UNWTO Executive Council is the powerhouse that ensures the organization stays on track, delivering its mission with unwavering dedication and adhering to its budget.

Folorunsho Coker, the Director General of Nigeria Tourism Development Authority, expressed heartfelt gratitude to fellow members and the esteemed Commission for Africa (CAF) for accepting Nigeria's bid. He envisions tremendous potential in this new role, stating, “With Nigeria’s recognition in the Commission for Africa/UNWTO as vice president and member of the Executive Council, we can deepen the impact of our domestic tourism assets and new mediums of cultural expression on our Nigerian GDP. We hope to support UNWTO Tourism Academy, tourism grants, tourism, technical support, and tourism events.” 

The possibilities are endless as Nigeria embraces its newfound position. This milestone is an incredible opportunity to shine a spotlight on our diverse culture, heritage, and warm hospitality that welcomes the world to our shores! 

This momentous occasion was celebrated during the Commission of Africa Meeting, a prestigious event held annually as part of UNWTO's grand lineup. Mauritius, an enchanting archipelago island country and a long-standing UNWTO member since 1975, had the honor of hosting the event for the second time this July.

Let's join hands and celebrate this thrilling journey of Nigeria's tourism resurgence! Together, we'll showcase our nation's captivating beauty and irresistible allure to the entire world. 

Originally reported by @voyagesafriq

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