Association wants return of Ministry of Tourism

Nkereuwem Onung, President Nigerian Tour Operators (NTO), has called for the restoration of the Ministry of Tourism, to enable the tourism sector contribute effectively to the economic development of the country.

Onung said this on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said that the amalgam of the Ministry of tourism with Information led to tourism becoming a department in the ministry noting that `this has not augur well with the growth of the sector’.

“So we are calling on the Federal Government to give us a separate ministry so that we can articulate issues of tourism very well.

“Nigeria now needs to get back to tourism in view of the global fall in crude oil price.

He explained that if the ministry of tourism is restored, it would assist in boosting the revenue of the country also fast track tourism development in Nigeria.

Onung said that this would also attract more foreign exchange to the country as well as create employment opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.

“Tourism runs through channels with statistics, it is not based on putting the right structures in place for tourism.

“We have the statistics; it is not about people coming to your country, it is about doing things that will appeal to people to come into your country,’’ he said.

Onung also quoted Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information as saying that there were `several’ tourism centres in the country that have been abandoned but needed to be revived.

He said that going by the minister’s position, it has become necessary for the Federal Government to develop its tourism sector like countries such as South African, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.

Onung said that these countries through tourism have been able to generate more revenues to boost the economies of their countries.

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