(From left): Mr. Uche Okafor, Chief of Staff to Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON); Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke, Director General, SON; Mrs. Toyin Atekoja, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Lagos State; and Nkereuwem Onung, President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), during the Stakeholders Standardization Conference for Tourism and Related Services Industry organised by SON, held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Friday

SON partners Lagos, FTAN to implement standardisation of hotel services

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Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has reached an agreement with Lagos Government and the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) to implement standardisation in hospitality services across the state.

(From left): Mr. Uche Okafor, Chief of Staff to Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON); Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke, Director General, SON; Mrs. Toyin Atekoja, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Lagos State; and Nkereuwem Onung, President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), during the Stakeholders Standardization Conference for Tourism and Related Services Industry organised by SON, held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Friday

Director-General, SON, Dr Ifeanyi Chukwunonso-Okeke, disclosed this during a forum organised by the agency for tourism and related services industry, on Friday in Lagos, under the theme of; “Implementing International Best Practices in Hospitality Businesses”.

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According to Chukwunonso-Okeke remains essential to strengthening quality in tourism businesses in Nigeria, adding that in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, it had become necessary to redefine the direction to ensure Nigerian tourism businesses are acceptable to all markets, locally and internationally.

“Today, SON is collaborating with private sector umbrella body, FTAN and Lagos state government authorities, to implement existing international and national standards.

“These are: NIS ISO 22483:2021- hotels service requirements and NIS 489:2020- hotels and serviced accommodation management system and rating, requirements and guidance for use.

“These are built into a certification scheme, to carry out certification of hospitality establishments within Nigeria.

“SON certification will ensure international best practices in the different tourism business operations.

“In hospitality establishments, it will steer up the zeal for hospitality businesses to adequately train their staff and ensure consistence in their service delivery,” he said.

Chukwunonso-Okeke noted that SON’s certification would add value to the hospitality establishments.

He said it would also assist them to compete globally, improve reputation, increase confidence of employers and employees as well as earning power.

He said tourism being one of the largest employer of labour in Nigeria and capable of gainfully engaging the youth, could also increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to him, most countries in Europe and Africa who survive on tourism businesses have come into Nigeria as investors to put in huge funds in building hospitality establishments.

He said most of these nations have gone as far as acquiring leading international brands in the hospitality sector to make their businesses preferred, to that of their competitors.

“It is important to mention that some investors come to Nigeria because they are aware that Nigerian tourism market is open and has less competition in the aspect of quality.

“Nigeria has what any country needs to boost its economy in tourism. We have unique tourist sites, rich culture and population.

“Nigerian tourism experts participate actively in national, regional and international tourism standardisation activities.

“Their contributions in the development of ISO Standards for accommodation, restaurants and adventure tourism, is still appreciated by the international standards community,” he said.

Earlier, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Lagos Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, underscored the importance of standardization in the tourism industry.

Benson-Awoyinka, represented by Mrs Oloruntoyin Atekoja, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said standardization plays a pivotal role in ensuring quality, consistency and competitiveness within the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Benson-Awoyinka explained that standardization remains the cornerstone upon which the tourism industry can thrive on a global stage.

“Embracing international best practices not only elevates our offerings but also strengthens our position as a premier destination for travellers seeking unforgettable experiences.

“While we acknowledge the challenges in meeting international standards, we also recognise the immense opportunities that standardisation brings for growth, innovation and sustainable development within our industry.

“Let me reaffirm the unwavering commitment of the Lagos state government in supporting initiatives that promote standardization and excellence in tourism and hospitality related services.

“It is in line with this standardization that the ministry is currently digitizing its hotel licensing processes and other regulatory activities.

“As we all know that true progress can only be achieved through collaborative efforts.

“I, therefore, encourage all stakeholders, government agencies, industry players, academia, and international bodies to work hand-in-hand toward implementing international best practices and setting new benchmarks of success,” she said. Also, Mr Nkereuwem Onung, National President of FTAN, said standardization in the tourism industry was long overdue as he advised tourism practitioners to embrace collaborations.

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