THEME: “How Nigeria Can Benefit from Growth in the Tourism & Hospitality Industry”
Yesterday, 17th of May 2016, beheld yet another landmark in the advancement of Nigeria with the Tourism and Hospitality Forum 2016 organized by The Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD). Held at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, the event was geared towards proffering ideas and solutions for uplifting the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria, a grossly untapped sector yet potentially lucrative venture for the country as well as the private sector. Tourism and hospitality is the most significant form of foreign exchange and the highest employer of labor.
The event was filled with icons in the hospitality and tourism sectors including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, the Director General of NTDC Dr(Mrs) Sally Mbanefo, and the Doyen of Fashion Tourism in Nigeria , Chief (Mrs) Opral Benson amongst many others.
Keynote speakers included the Guest Speaker, Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer of the South African Tourism Grading Council; Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife; Mr Folorunso Folarin-Coker, Hon. Commissioner of Tourism Lagos state; Dr. (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo, DG, NTDC; Mr. Marek Zymslowski, founder Hoteloga; and Chief Tomi Akingbogun, President of the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria.
Some notable excerpts from the discourse include:
The Ooni of Ife expressed his passion for tourism, culture and the Nigerian heritage. He identifies Nigeria as the most blessed nation in the world with its rich cultural heritage. He stated categorically that Ife houses some of the world’s wonders, like the age old well that contains the purest natural water in the world and the source of all the oceans that changes color from blue to green to reflect the changing colors of the oceans worldwide.
Darryl Erasmus in his presentation stated that Nigeria has windows of opportunities to share its tourist sites to the world and that South Africa is not only willing to share but also ready to assist.
Dr.(Mrs) Sally Mbanefo, spoke about repositioning Nigerian Tourism and the role of NTDC in transforming Tourism in Nigeria, one of its functions of which is responsibility in marketing Nigeria as the preferred tourist destination. She spoke about the tourism value chain, noting that tourism is self sufficient and can generate significant revenue for Nigeria; however there is need to develop and standardize the various touch points and access routes. She suggested that corporate organizations be made to contribute at least one percent of their total yearly earnings into tourism, as tourism should be private sector driven. She also gave kudos to Nigerian domestic tourism gurus who have contributed immensely in developing tourist attraction sites, commending Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, founder of Inagbe Grand Resort and Dr. Wanle Akinboboye, owner of the renowned La Campagne Tropicana beach resort amongst others.
Stay tuned for more to come on this momentous event in the next issue of Hospitality9ja magazine