[From VICTOR NZE]
Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has formally inaugurated a council to oversee operations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) zone, which also includes Abuja.
The six-man executive council will steer affairs of FTAN for the next two years.
FTAN is the umbrella body of private sector operators in travel and tourism business in the country.
Inaugurating the FCT Zonal Council at a ceremony in Abuja, recently, President of FTAN, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung described the body as very strategic to the association, just as he posited that team will help to strengthen the existing relationship between FTAN and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, especially, the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
Onung, however, appealed to the new executive council to be humble in relating with the other affiliate members of FTAN, especially the association presidents, stakeholders and National Secretariat, adding that ‘there is no reason for any conflict.’
He further charged the excos to take urgent steps in meeting with Management of the FCTA with a view to ensuring that FTAN’s pet project, the NTIFE, is on course.
He disclosed plans by FTAN to meet with the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Muhammed to discuss tourism development matters in Nigeria, as well as, the issue of palliative to operators in travel and hospitality industry.
On the planned hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) CAF in 2022, Onung noted that there is need for the Federal Government to meet with the private sector so as to discuss various issues relating to the proposed event, one of such, according to the FTAN President, being the role expected of Nigeria as the host, ‘that this is the only way the conference is going to have positive impact on our tourism,’ he added.
Continuing, Onung said: “Tourism is lowest hanging fruit for Nigeria economy today, oil has gone, there is nothing we don’t have in terms of Tourism assets in our country.”
This is further as the Onung tasked the new FCT Zonal executive members with the need to ‘work together to strengthen the structure that FTAN has already put in place for the benefits of both the Federation and Nigeria tourism sector.’
The FTAN President also used the platform of the inauguration of the FCT Zonal exco to draw attention to the forthcoming ‘Nigerian Tourism Awards’ lined up by the association, later this month in Lagos, as he disclosed that the event will be an annual programme in the calendar of the association.
“This is what FTAN will be doing every year. But we begin with NCAC Director General, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe. So every year FTAN will honour Nigerians who contribute to the growth of the tourism industry. We commend Otunba for what he has done and still doing for FTAN, Culture and Tourism in Nigeria.
“All members and relevant stakeholders are expected to be part of the celebration,” Onung said.
The newly-inaugurated FCT Zonal executive members include: Alhaji Yunusa Mohammed as Chairman (from HATMAN), Mr. Owolabi Shaheed as Vice Chairman, (from NATOP), Mr. Amos Opoola as Treasurer, (from HATMAN), Nma Jennifer, Secretary (from NANTA), Mr. Ekong Onofiok Jnr., Membership Secretary (from HOFA), and Glory Okon, as PRO, (from ANJET).
The Oath of Office was administered by the FTAN First deputy President Alhaji Aliyu Badaki.
Affiliate group heads who graced the occasion include; President of Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA, Mrs Funmi Kazeem; President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporiaye; President of Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Hajia Bilkisu Abdul.
Others are; President of Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN), Mr. Samson Aturu; as well as, President of Nigeria Auto Sport Association (NASA), Bolaji Olure; and the President of Youth Tourism Development Organisation (YTDO, Comrade Emmanuel Okon.
Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, members of FTAN, friends and weĺl-wishers, also graced the event.