Earnings from international tourism are expected to increase from about 477 billion Dollars in the year 2000 to about 2.0 trillion in the year 2020.
Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe gave the figure at the 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) held at MUSON Center in Lagos with the theme: “Developing Strategic Policies for the Sustainability and Growth of the Travel and Tourism Industry”.
In his presentation, titled: Harnessing Nigerian Cultural Products For Sustainable Tourism Development In Nigeria”, Chief Runsewe also observed that as the third export sector in the world, tourism is essential for job creation and the prosperity of communities around the world.
According to Runsewe, UNWTO had projected international tourist arrivals worldwide to grow at a rate of 4-5% in 2018, adding that the projection is above the 3.8% average growth projected for the period of 2010 to 2020.
Suggesting ways forward for the industry, the director general said “the private sector needs to be assisted to grow through funding, supports, loans and concessionary interest rates. This will greatly assist the critical stakeholders in the industry to expand and strengthen the scope of their business interest”.
“Adequate attention should be paid to the marketing and promotion of our cultural products and tourism destinations. Many of these products are relatively unpopular or even unknown because they are not marketed to the outside world”.
In his speech, President of NANTA, Mr Bernard Bankole said that in the last one year, NANTA’s emphasis has been mainly on advocacy and enactment of their legislative bill at the National Assembly.
According to Bankole, NANTA has also in the last one year, worked closely with the regulatory body, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA, to eliminate counterfeit travel agencies among their members.
The president said “this singular act has reduced the number of counterfeit agencies around but has not completely eliminated them. We would have an almost perfect downstream sector with special emphasis on sharing of information and data within this industry”.
He however, informed that the Nigeria Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC), otherwise known as NANTA card which was introduced a year ago to keep records of every practitioner has received great support from embassies, Nigeria immigration Services, FAAN and other bodies.
“This administration also meticulously worked with IATA, the global body of travel agency licensing and accredition, with the introduction of New Generation IATA Settlement System (NewGen ISS) which Introduces new categorization and better flexibility in payment. This new system is the replacement of the old Billing Settlement Plan (BSP) which operated in Nigeria for 10 years. We must say at this point that the NewGen ISS is a huge step in ensuring a simpler and faster way of doing travel agency business in Nigeria”, Bankole added.