Seek fresh focus for industry
Top tourism administrator and former director – general, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, has called on tourism practitioners in Nigeria to wake up to their responsibilities by tracking the activities of Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, FTAN, and holding their leaders accountable.
Runsewe, who was speaking at the sidelines of the recent National Association of Tour Operators, NATOP, recognition award and AGM in Calabar, noted that the industry leadership needs total overhauling in view of its lack of presence and very poor advocacy for tourism change in Nigeria, particularly at this time when Nigeria needs help to diversify its economy.
Effectively breaking a long silence on tourism issues since he was removed out of office two years ago for alleged political association with former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the former NTDC boss expressed sadness at the poor attention to tourism in the past two years and wondered why some stakeholders could not challenge and correct the ugly draw back.
Runsewe, who was a recipient of NATOP award for major and historical tourism contribution during his tenure in office, noted that time has come to re-brand the industry; appreciating the fact that tourism is better than oil because it is the highest employer of labour in the world.
He however, commended NATOP for showing robust capacity to analyse national tourism issues and also for having a sense of history for choosing to confer an award on him for his modest contribution to growth of Nigerian tourism.
In a letter to the president of NATOP dated 19th February, and personally signed by him, Runsewe, who is now the chairman Golf Garden Waterfront, an upscale golf sports tourism resort in Abuja and first of its kind in Africa, stated that NATOP has always played vital roles in setting the tourism message right in Nigeria.
Urging NATOP to remain steadfast, Runsewe pleaded that all hands must be on deck to re-position tourism as a critical sector of Nigeria’s economy.