Michael Omojola. Banji Adelusi
Ekiti State Chapter of the National Association Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has been urged to promote local tourism in order to compliment the efforts of Ekiti State Government to broaden the revenue base of the State.
The representatives of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism gave this charge on Monday at the inauguration of the Association at the Peace House, NTA Road, Ado-Ekiti.
The State Director of Tourism Development, Prince Adebanji Adelusi and representative of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism to the event, Director of Collaboration, Research, Documentation and Planning, Pastor Babatunde Adewunmi, explained that NANTA could benefit more in facilitating tours and travels to various tourism destinations in the State.
Describing Ekiti as a State favoured by nature, history and culture for highest level of tourism prospect in Southwest Nigeria, Adelusi took time to enumerate the achievements of the Ministry in positioning tourism in the State for global attraction and ensuring the preparedness of the hospitality sector of the State for a massive tourism receipt.
Present at the event were the Zonal Executives of the Association, led by the Zonal Vice President, Otunba Babatunde Adesokan. Others include the representatives of the Nigeria immigration services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NURTW and some officers of the Ekiti State Department of Tourism.
Delivering a lecture on the topic: Hospitality Management and Tourism Development in Ekiti State, a lecturer at the department of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti Dr. Michael Adeoye, described the world as a healer always ready heal whoever is ready to travel it. He urged the Association to engage in massive orientation of Ekiti people about the need to travel and explore the world.
The Zonal Treasurer of NANTA, Dr. Olatokunbo Dagunro, in his remark, urged the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism to collaborate with the Association towards minimizing quakry in the industry in Ekiti State. He posited that there has not been enough seriousness from governments in Nigeria towards tapping optimally into the revenue opportunities of tourism. He said Nigerians spent N4.2billion in South Africa alone on tourism in 2019. He said the Nigeria’s fulani culture is richer than that of the Massai Mari that tourists go to Gambia to see. “How well has Nigeria developed its cultures for the world tourism public to travel to see? ” He asked.
Dr. Dagunro however commended the Ekiti State Government’s attention to tourism as evident in the transformation of the Ikogosi Resort from what it was when last their team visited the place to what it has now reportedly become. He said government should do more to enable the Association partner effectively in promoting the Ekiti Tourism brand.
Dr. Dagunduro expressed hope for a better tourism industry in Ekiti State, in which the Association, which belongs to the Service Sector would serve the public better in promoting the State’s tourist potentials and improving the economy of the State through creation of job opportunities. He expressed serious concerns about the fake people practicing tourism business in the State. He explained that the association is working with security agencies and the state government to curb fake people .
Inaugurating the Ekiti State Chapter of NANTA and swearing in their new Coordinating Officials, the Zonal Vice President, Otunba Babatunde Adesokan charged the officers to stand firm to ensure fake travel agents defrauding innocent members of the public are curtailed. He urged them to look for opportunities and to open their doors for quality membership. Otunba Adesokan also urged them to collaborate with relevant partners especially the Ministry of Art Culture and Tourism, Ekiti State to ensure members of the Association benefit from available opportunities particularly in terms of capacity building. He expressed the intention of the Western Zonal Team of NANTA to pay an official visit to all the tourism sites as well as potential tourism destinations across the State
and see how such could be packaged for global marketing. however decried the failure of the federal government to pay the Airline Trap Fund which had impacted so negatively on the airfare. He said airfare had skyrocketed by 1000 percent as a result of the federal government to do the needful.
The Ekiti State Coordinator of the newly inaugurated chapter, Mr Yusuf Sikiru Olanrewaju, in his acceptance speech, promised that the association would witness huge development during his tenure. He also pledged that his team would foster an effective collaboration with relevant agencies of government particular to educate the public regularly about tourism and imperatives of travels.
After, the inauguration, the Ekiti State Chapter presented Awards of Excellence to Queen’s Court Hotel Ado-Ekiti for being the Best Hotel in Ekiti State and Fresh F.M the Best Radio Station in the State. Similar awards were also given to some individuals who have distinguished themselves in leadership and creativity. They include the former Commissioner for Arts and Culture and Tourism, Prof Rasaki Ojo Bakare, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh FM, Chief Olayinka Joel Ayefele.
Agencies like Ekiti State Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Services and the NURTW were also given awards of recognition. Similarly some individuals also got Certificates of Recognition. They include: the Unit Chairman NUTRW Ado- Ekiti, Chief Sunday Ogunleye and popular presenters of (Latinuaka) programme, Chiefs Biodun Alade and Kayode Falegan. The End!