Zero Inbound Tourism: The Failings Of NTDA And The Response Of NANTA
By Frank Meke.
I got freezed out excitedly in the middle of the frenzy and effusive revelation of how the world bargains for the soul of the travellers, paying travel publics.
To say I was lost at sight of creative transformation of experiences and amazing stories told in graphic slides and escapasism certainly is beyond comprehension.
Artificial intelligence and its impacts could be exciting, but the eyes and brains of human beings are yet the core laboratory waiting for full swoop discovery by humanity.
What really is the fuzz about this world, the urge to discover, buy into other peoples history and culture, and keep the traffic coming for a fee, freely and willingly spent.
Tourism beyond the study of cross-border relish of local cuisines, dances, and drummings, help unites people and tells how each geospace and people can live in peace.
For every nation on earth, there are values, natural or cultural intrinsic values which are told differently and helps change the socioeconomic narratives of nations and peoples. Over the years, I watched World Travel Markets evolve.
The UK iconic brand spread through to Arab Travel Market and influenced others in Madrid, Spain, and Berlin, Germany. The South African indigenous fringe, indaba, finds home in the port city of Durban and eyes Africa for Africans.
Over the years, technology,nature, and aviation, ground transportation, security, commerce, and manufacturing all got souped in the village square, served a la carte with such stupendous and profound seminal submissions, mingled with sweet sound to lure the travel Saints to dare and bask. In these markets and let me speak about WTM London, anything, I mean anything can be sold and bought.
The rule of engagement is driven by passion and creativity, and there are no limits to the amount of tourism traffic any nation can handle. Sometimes, I had thought the dollars, pounds, and the Yen were the currency of tourism business and to which poor developing countries so desired to push their stories forward.
When the Arabs, the Americans, and the Chinese with their stupendous spending powers, now compulsorily and compulsively, out spend each other to buy off space to woo the ever untiring adventuring persons and publics to their domain, I just kind of wonder.
Sports, Music, and Entertainment are strong selling markets. Your disadvantages can be turned into advantage if you can flow and collaborate.
Money is the biggest attraction for tourism economy. In this business and market, you must come to learn something new and be open to engagement. So to dismiss the gathering of over a hundred countries and fifty thousand exhibitors as amounting to a waste of resources and time does reveal the minds of cranks and brazenly dead brains.
This is where Nigeria thrives, where we roll in ignoranomy and shame. In seven years, we failed to venture and wobbled to change our tourism inbound narratives.
As it is outside, we also grope in the dark at home. It’s an amazing tourism inertia. We pride in the shameful flavour of deceptive colouration of our endowments and remain hopelessly unimpactful, uninspiring to our rural poor and collapsed economy. Long story short, Nigeria Tourism Development Authority is not here, not yesterday, today, years past , in seven, last seen here 2014, hawkish, silent and brow beaten by lack of vision.
It is not as if we don’t have a legacy of participation, presence, and power. We did. From 2017 to 2013, we built a solid rock formation, took wtm by storm in 2018 and down the years, across Europe and Africa.
We were made proud. Those were glorious days when otunba Segun Runsewe held forth with aggressive gusto, and the world marvelled at our positive disruptions and were looking our way.
The more they see us, the more they believe we have a lot to offer. Runsewe knew and understands the politics of the travel world. Runsewe is a born marketer, and there was no comparison.
He saw our tourism tomorrow and worked hard at it. He brought our cultural diversity to the limelight at WTM’s appearance, and the world heard us.
Our food, fashion, and music took centre stage, and the global tourism market mafia took turns to visit for a collaboration. It is no longer so now with the retrogressives at ntda. Our dreams, our inbound tourism expectations, died on laps of the Herod of NTDA.
We are where we are today because Nigeria did not appoint a game changer. We replaced Runsewe with a flag dresser and capped our foolery with a coward.
On Monday, 6thNovember, when gates on WTM will open to the world, Nigeria will be missing in body and soul, but its fulness in the undaunting spirit of her people, represented by National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies ( Nanta) will count.
Lagos Ministry of Tourism and Arts is here, but I really can’t vouch yet how they may fare but Nanta expressively wish to give the government and people of Nigeria, the desired renewed hope in the quest to bring the world to our door steps.
NTDA should be rebuilt or stand collapsed. To hide behind unexplainable arrogance and cowardice and submit that Nigeria can’t fly her great flag among tourism nations on account of zero inbound tourism narratives, is to tell the world that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is dumb by creating separate ministries for Tourism and Culture.
If I were the president, the jester at ntda will openly account for the tourism promotion funding collected in the past seven years and garland with an emefile look alike certificate of shame and sack letter.
It is a grevious and unpardonable offence for the full weight of President Ahmed Tinubu government not to be felt here. It is a sad trajectory simply because we depended on inept ntda leadership. Thank God for nanta,but for this great travel trade professionals, what would our Nigeria be saying now!.