NATOP unveils plans for befitting AGM in Calabar
The Nigerian Association of Tour Operators, NATOP has unveiled plans to organise a befitting Annual General Meeting, AGM in Calabar, Cross River State.
NATOP is strategising to restore the Nigerian tourism dreams by finding its missing link in a diversified economy like that of Nigeria at the AGM.
The event slated for February 11th in Calabar with the theme, Nigeria Tourism: The missing link in a diversified economy is set to re-position and restore the Nigerian tourism industry by taking it to a greater height.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lagos, the president of NATOP and chairman of Remlords Tours and Car Hire Services, Mr Nkereuweng Onung disclosed that NATOP wants to give the tour operators a new direction by getting them also to market the destination Nigeria at the AGM in Calabar.
Mr Onung stated that NATOP is inviting the owners of tourism products to come and meet with the tour operators so as to create a synergy.
He observed that Nigerian tour operators have been at the forefront of supplying tourists to other countries, stressing that the development has to change.
According to him, “Nigerian tour operators are the biggest suppliers of tourists on the continent. In 2015, Africa suffered a 3percent loss on arrivals down from a 4 percent annual growth in the past years. Yet despite a shrinking spending power due to failing oil prices, a lot of Nigerians still travelled abroad. The interim figure from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA showed that more than $1.5billion was spent on international flight tickets last year”.
The chairman of Remlords explained further that NATOP chose Calabar for the rebirth because it was in the state in the year 2000 that NATOP through the support of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, ADC, British Airways and Mrs Onari Duke helped to drive the rise of Cross River as a tourism destination.
”At this AGM, NATOP will honour those visionary members and supporters who worked hard to create the tourism vision that Cross River implemented and delivered. Outside Cross River State, NATOP has partnered with 7 Wonders of Nigeria to promote the destination Nigeria. For the first time in Nigeria in 2012, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC involved Nigeria tour operators in the World Travel Market, WTM, NATOP also partnered annually with Akwaaba African Travel Market to bring people to Nigeria”, the NATOP President said.
Onung listed the leading speakers lined up for the AGM to include Pat Utomi who will be dissecting the theme of the AGM, the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, the chief host and presentations by the Carnival Commission chairman, Gab Onah.
He said the minister of information and Culture, Lai Muhammed is expected as the special guest of honour while the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Folurunsho Folarin Coker will be speaking on converting our nine digit population to money spinner, the Lagos State perspective.
Other speakers expected to present papers at the event include, the South African regional director, Pisto Hloni who will be speaking on how government policies drive tourism: Lessons from South Africa, the managing director of FAAN will be speaking on Aviation and Tourism: who needs whom?, the director general National Council for Arts and Culture , NCAC, Mrs Dayo Keshi on the role of Culture in the development and promotion of Nigeria, while the director general, National Commission for Musuems and Monuments, Alhaji Usman will speak on preserving Nigerian’s heritage and monuments for a tourism economy.
Remlords boss disclosed further that, “we have invited other culture and tourism parastatals and all state tourism commissioners \tourism board to come and present their tourism products to their tour operators.
The event is supported by the South African Tourism, Rwandair, NCAA, Cross River State Government and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
L-R Mr. Tosin Shopitan, managing director, get cente, Bolaji Mustapha, President of NATOP and chairman Remlords Tours and Car Hire Services, Nkereuwem Onung, managing director Leadway Tours and Travel, Ime Udo and Ikechi Uko, the organiser Akwaaba African Travel Market and Publisher, ATQ Magazine at the NATOP press briefing to announce the coming AGM in Calabar over the weekend in Lagos.