Art and Culture

Tourism Operators, FTAN Threaten to Boycott UNWTO Conference in Lagos                                          

todayJuly 9, 2022 1

share close

Justina Uzo                                                                  

When the hosting rights of the United Nations World Tourism Organisations (UNWTO) first ever conference on cultural tourism and creative industries was granted to Nigeria by the Madrid, Spain-based United Nations agency, UNWTO, many found the news difficult to believe. Generally, they said the host, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture should “keep her house in order” before hosting the global tourism.                                                                                                                              

Now, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), the organised private sector tourism body in the country, has kicked against the UNWTO first ever conference on cultural tourism and creative industries planned for Lagos, Nigeria between November 14 and November 17, 2022, saying “it’s of no benefit to Nigeria and self-serving of Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.”                                            

The FTAN, the umbrella body of the various tourism associations of hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents and boat/cruise operators, has said they won’t be participating in the conference.

 President of FTAN, Mr. Nkwereuwem Onung made the position of the operators known at a press conference in Lagos, recently.

Onung therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed   to shelve the planned UNWTO conference and address more pressing issues facing the tourism sector in the country.

Mohammed had recently inaugurated a central planning committee of the UNWTO conference as part of events slated for the reopening of the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, which is being renovated by the Nigeria Bankers’ Committee.

Onung, who expressed his dissatisfaction over the treatment meted out to FTAN, alleged that the Federation had even written a formal open letter to President Buhari on the matter stating why hosting the conference is inimical to Nigeria.

The letter titled, “Hosting of United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s first conference on cultural tourism and creative industries: A wild goose chase of no benefit to Nigeria and Nigerian cultural tourism and creative industries’’ apparently didn’t achieve its purpose.

Onung hinged the private sector tourism operators’ resolve to boycott the conference mainly on the neglect of the tourism sector by the Minister (supervisory tourism minister) over the last seven years, noting that the minister had completely abandoned Nigeria tourism with no impact whatsoever from the ministry on its development and promotion despite the huge budgetary allocation to the sector yearly.

He said at no time did the minister met with the private sector to deliberate on areas of policies, concerns, and problems facing the sector and operators and work out implementable strategies in addressing identified concerns.

Onung disclosed that all efforts made to have a meeting with the minister to discuss the way forward for the sector proved abortive, with no response from the over six letters written.

Rather than meet with them or attend local tourism events, the minister, he said, prefers to attend meetings and events outside the country hosted by the UNWTO on tourism and culture where he only parades himself as the country’s tourism minister while the domestic tourism is suffering from government’s neglect.

Hosting the November UNWTO conference, he noted, is not what the country needs to recovery from its present economic woes as “it is only an avenue to enrich a few people and fritter tax payers money away in a mere jamboree that is of no benefit contrary to what the minister has made the Presidency and nation to believe.”

The open letter reads in part: ‘‘The supervising ministry for Tourism; the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, and the Minister in charge, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is, to say the least, have neglected Tourism, with no basic policy direction, programmes and activities wholly initiated and/or in partnership with the private sector to drive Tourism.

‘‘Not even in the difficult era of COVID-19 when most of the MDAs worked closely with the private sector to devise palliatives for survival strategies did the minister and Ministry of Information and Culture think it wise to court the private sector. The only reaction from the minister was to set up a ‘controversial’ creative industry committee to work out palliatives for the sector.

‘‘Unfortunately, the recommendations of the committee and the review committee are today gathering dust and cobwebs in the ‘golden’ cabinet of the Minister; neither disclosed nor recommendations implemented.

‘‘Sadly, the Minister has not felt the need to work in this direction especially given our peculiar situation; with our economy bleeding and our tourist destinations gripped by insecurity that does not repose confidence in tourists and investors in revamping our neglected tourism destinations.

‘‘Rather, what we have seen over the last seven years is that the minister and the ministry have been more focused on merely attending international events and meetings of the UNWTO and thus becoming ‘biding specialists’ by lobbying to get hosting rights to any UNWTO related events without putting in perspective the attendant economic cost and benefits to the country.”

Written by:

Rate it

Previous post

Art and Culture

Kuje Prison Attack: Our Men Couldn’t Hold Their Position Effectively, Says Aregbesola

Michael Olugbode The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, could not but be harsh on security men deployed to protect the Kuje Prison before Tuesday attack by Boko Haram, describing them as men that could not hold their ground despite the amount of fortification they had. Aregbesola who undertook a tour of the facility to assess the attack by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, said he could not just describe […]

todayJuly 8, 2022

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply