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.
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.