BY: Dikachi Elemba, in Owerri
The Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) says that it is collaborating with investors in the tourism and hospitality industry to tackle issues of unemployment through creating job opportunities and raising internally generated revenue (IGR) for the 36 states in the country and Abuja.
Ogunyemi Odunayo, vice president, FTAN, South East, who spoke in Owerri, stated that the association’s achievements have been very remarkable and conspicuous in the South East and the country in general.
According to Ogunyemi, the achievements are so glaring because FTAN, he said, is an umbrella body of many associations that help to curtail unemployment, create job opportunities and raise a substantial amount of money which increases the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the states.
Such associations under FTAN include, Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA); Nigeria Hotel and Catering Institute (NHCI); Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria(ITPN); Association of Nigeria Tourism Journalists and Writers of Tourism. Others include, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA); Hotel and Personal Service Employers Association of Nigeria (HOPESEA); Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), etc.
Ogunyemi who is also the chief executive officer, Legit Hospitality Concepts, and the general manager of Benchmark Hotels, Owerri, reiterated that FTAN has achieved so much in the South East, with the collaboration of investors, as well as their encouragement in the sector to participate in tourism and hospitality practices which have resulted to reducing unemployment, and create job opportunities, return on investment, increase in internally generated revenue for the state governments in the South East, and in the infrastructural development especially, in the tourism and hospitality industry.
He explained that the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, as the apex body, is responsible for providing leadership and direction for the private sector; travel, hospitality and recreational associations and businesses.
It is also responsible for establishing operating standards and ethics that will help to enhance the credibility of the profession as well as encourage its acceptability.
Other activities of the association include the promotion of domestic and international tourism activities within Nigeria, liaise, interact and work in concert with the government at all levels and its agencies in order to guarantee the timely and effective development of tourism resources in Nigeria.
He noted that the tourism industry in the South East is still battling with insecurity; and, according to him, “it is seriously affecting the tourism and hospitality sector in the South East, night life has not fully returned to the South East, and tourists are still sceptical about the security situation.
“We are hoping and working assiduously with the stakeholders to see how the security situation in the Southeast could improve. However, the government is making efforts to get rid of the causes of the incessant attacks and create a favourable and conducive environment for businesses to thrive and for life to return to normalcy in the region,” he said.
Adding that, “insecurity is seriously affecting room occupancy and it is not very encouraging at the moment.”
The FTAN vice president lamented the situation of the tourism sector, which he said is under threat because of the high cost of a litre of diesel now in the country but has appealed to those in authority to reduce the high cost of buying diesel and fuel in the country.