NIHOTOUR set to launch STEP for tourism startups in host communities

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National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) is set to officially launch an innovative training programme for economic empowerment of the youth and women resident across the country’s tourist destinations.

The project is titled; ‘Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP)’, is set to be formally launched in Lagos on Monday, November 28, 2022.

According to the Director General, NIHOTOUR, Nura Sani Kangiwa, the Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) programme is for various tourism and hospitality small business start-ups and sustainable operations of small businesses in rural tourist host communities and major cities across Nigeria’s six-geopolitical zones where NIHOTOUR already has campuses and training centres.

“STEP programme is novel and designed to train, equip and mentor trainees on hands-on skills and entrepreneurial capabilities for successful operation of small businesses (start-ups) in the Tourism industry value-chain such as Cookery, Pastry, Confectionery, Tour Operation, Tour Guiding, and Travel Agency – flight ticketing and hotel reservations.

“NIHOTOUR STEP project aims at systematically growing Nigeria’s Tourism economy at different tourist destinations, especially targeting the growth of income and savings of the local residents, growth in employment opportunities, significantly increase number of self-employment and, over time, the development of tourism sites and businesses.

“The STEP project is targeted at young girls and women who are single, married or widowed, vulnerable youths who are either orphans, abandoned or school drop-outs, physically challenged persons, internally displaced persons, and unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions, as well as, skilled youths with post primary school education in Nigeria. The training will be delivered free of charge to participants. More so, graduates of the programme will be given starter-packs to immediately start their own business.

“STEP would be a 3-month training programme. It would involve intense ‘learning-by-doing’ curricula where trainees will learn Tourism or Hospitality product development, services operation and the nitty-gritties of setting-up their personal business at the expiration of their training in three months. Trainees would be taught business development proficiencies, such as, go-to market strategies, business incorporation, product packaging, brand positioning, online and off-line marketing, customer relationship management and prevailing global best practices, in the trainees’ preferred areas of specialization, with profitable niche markets in the industry.

“Delivery of the STEP project would include students’ ‘study-to-work’ job placements and supervised Mentoring systems, in-partnership with Tourism and allied private-sector organisations – whereby graduands will have a short period of supervised apprenticeship at existing Tourism or Hospitality business outlets at different tourist destinations.

“The goal of the Job Placement and Mentoring part of NIHOTOUR STEP programme is to provide the graduands with hands-on skills and real-life business management expertise to enable them successfully setup and manage their own personal businesses at the end of their three months training programme.

“The duration of NIHOTOUR-STEP would be three consecutive calendar months, which is broken into one month of class work and two months of apprenticeship and practical training and mentorship at private Tourism and hospitality business organizations,” Kangiwa said.

Continuing, Kangiwa added that the goal and set targets of NIHOTOUR’s STEP programme are in-line with the well-documented objectives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) programmes, especially, related to the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“More so, training and educational institutions, in the mould of NIHOTOUR, in other parts of the United Nations’ member countries, have evidently implemented similar programmes like STEP and empowered graduands with profitable start-up Tourism businesses or employment in the industry, thereby lifting thousands of families out of poverty and deprivation.”

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