The director general of the National Council for Art and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe has called for adequate attention to the development of the country’s culture industry.
Runsewe who stated this at the 43rd AGM of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA in Lagos today noted that culture provides a major content for the development and growth of tourism.
He emphasised the need for adequate attention to be to the marketing and promotion of Nigeria’s cultural products and tourism destinations.
The NCAC DG observed that most of these products are relatively unpopular or even unknown because they are not marketed to the outside world.
He noted that culture and tourism are interwoven and should not be separated because tourism in life while culture is a way of life.
Runsewe urged the members of NANTA to see their AGM as a networking platform for stakeholders to interact and move the industry forward and not just an annual rituals.
Runsewe observed that that the problem of the industry is that of mistrust and disagreement among the players in the industry.
He urged the players in the industry to eschew unhealthy rivalries and competition among themselves.
The NCAC DG stated that the industry is too big and wide for all the stakeholders to operate without antagonising themselves.
Resewe noted that when the state government cancels a festival like the Argungu Fishing Festival, for one year, it will take another 20 years to bring it back .
In his remarks also, the director general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Mr Folarin Coker noted that the problem of tourism in Nigeria is lack of legal framework to move the industry forward.
He lamented that the laws the govern the industry are over 40 years, obsolete and need to be changed.
The NTDC DG stressed the need for the industry practitioners to embrace digital technology, adding that it is the future of tourism.
Coker noted also that part of the problem of tourism in the country is the negative talks about the country by Nigerians themselves.
Speaking earlier at the AGM, the president of NANTA, Mr Bankole Bernard said that in the last one year, the emphasis has been mainly on advocacy and enactment of its legislative bill (NANTA Act).
He said the bill has moved from the lower house to the point of consideration for a third reading.
Bernard stated further that NANTA has worked with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA in the last one year to eliminate counterfeit travel agencies among their members.
According him: “This singular act has reduced the number of counterfeit travel agencies around, but has not completely eliminated them. We hope with the measures put in place, we would have an almost perfect downstream sector with special emphasis on sharing of information and data withing this industry.”
He said the NANTA ID Card introduced last year year has received great support from Embassies, Nigerian Immigration and the federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN in checking the validity of travel agencies within their scope of operations.
Speaking earlier at the occasion, the former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Jokotola Pelumi tasked NANTA to always create value for the industry.
He said tourism industry has not feared well, stressing that it is not supposed to be that way.
The former Speaker pledged commitment to the success of NANTA in area of legislation, active support for its activities.
The AGM which attracted key players in the travel and tourism industry in Nigeria featured presentation of awards to deserving personalities who have contributed immensely to the growth of the industry including Runsewe, Coker and others.