The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) to collaborate with the Federal Government to advance tourism development and promotion in Nigeria.
The Minister said this in Abuja on Monday when he received the newly-inaugurated council of FTAN on a courtesy visit to his office.
He asked FTAN to consider itself as a partner, rather than as an adversary, of the government.
“FTAN is the umbrella body under which every association involved in tourism resides. It is backed by law. FTAN is not just a voluntary association or an NGO, it is a major stakeholder in the tourism industry and from the membership of FTAN – ranging from tour operators, car hire Operators to hotel owners and professionals in the industry – you can see that virtually everybody that has a role to play in tourism comes under the umbrella of FTAN.
”That is why I always look forward to engaging with FTAN because I see them as a partner in our effort to move tourism forward,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said tourism thrives through the involvement of government – which provides infrastructure and makes policies and regulations – the private sector and the community.
He said the present administration is currently exploring a sustainable tourism development model, which ensures that the infrastructure and lifestyle of a particular community reflect the tourism opportunities being provided.
“There is no point in having a five-star hotel in a one-star community. If you want to build a five-star hotel, you must also necessarily upgrade the infrastructure of the area but, most importantly, is that you must ensure the livelihood and lifestyle of the community is also five-star,” the Minister said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the government will leverage on the expertise and network of FTAN to ensure the success of the African Tourism Ministers Meeting, to be held under the platform of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in Abuja next year.
In his remarks, the President of FTAN, Alhaji Rabo Kareem, said his delegation visited the minister in order to forge a synergy with the government, with a view to developing and promoting tourism in the country.
“The private sector is one of the main arms of tourism development and promotion in the country, as such there is a need to have a very good synergy with the government so that we can operate on the same understanding and then we will be able to move the industry forward,” he said