By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) says it is poised to stimulate domestic tourism to create employment and boost internally generated revenue of government and host communities.
Alhaji Saleh Rabo, the newly elected President of the association, made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Rabo said that tourism had the potential to generate huge revenue for the government and provide employment for the people.
“We must get it right with domestic tourism market before expecting foreign tourists to come in droves.
“We will do a research and the findings will help us to identify Nigeria’s tourist market abroad.
“Our main tourist attraction is the diversification of our cultural heritage. In marketing Nigeria, we will ascertain countries interested in Africa and execute targeted marketing and promotions in those countries.
“This will include road shows, exhibitions, and rigorous advertisements and social media marketing campaigns.
“We will emphasise giving tourists exactly the experience we promised them when marketing our tourist destinations,’’ Rabo said.
He said that the association’s determined goal was to richly grow the domestic tourism market in the country.
Rabo, who is also the Managing Director of All States Travel and Tours Ltd, said the association aimed at ensuring significant improvement in the hospitality services, tourist destinations and facilities.
“We also want to see an increase in the number of recorded tourist arrivals at the country’s tourist sites and a significant increase in the contribution of tourism to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and other internally generated revenues,” he said.
Rabo said that the association’s other strategy was to systematically involve host communities in the day- to- day handling of tourism sites and the tourists.
According to him, host communities will contribute to tourism activities in their localities in terms of primary food supply, tour guides, security, souvenirs and handcraft sales, traditional entertainment and other direct tourism services.
“Nevertheless, we will proactively engage state governments’ apparatus to organise tourist host communities, collect taxes and other levies, which in turn, shall be shared with the host communities,’’ Rabo said.
He said the aim was for the host communities to participate as stakeholders in the state government’s tourism ventures.
According to him, the most effective way to get the communities’ total buy-in is when the state government gives some percentage of revenue generated at the tourist host communities back to them.
“In doing such, the communities will see the success of their community as a tourist destination, which is pivotal to eradicating poverty, creating employment and improving their collective livelihood.’’ (NAN)
Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi