The Nigerian and states governments have been called to diversify the nation’s economy by stimulating the development of tourism clusters and tourists destinations.
The President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, Alhaji Saleh Rabo made the call in Uyo, where he is representing the private sector at the World Tourism Day celebration organised by the Akwa Ibom State.
Alhaji Rabo says tourism development is “a guaranteed way of creating employment in Nigeria, especially in tourist host communities in rural areas.’’
“Globally, the tourism industry is the highest employer of labour, both skilled and unskilled labour and the value chain of the tourism economy is robust and sustainable,’’ he stated.
He further called on the Government to create enabling environment for tourism industry to ease their business and to incentivise investments by Nigeria tourism operators.
Alhaji Rabo admonished State Governments “to give tourism business operators in their domain tax holidays and that the Nigerian Government equally waive import duties for tourism operators.’’
According to him, “presently 85% hotels and tourist resorts in Nigeria are owned by FTAN members, but they are being devilled with barrage of taxes and levies by Nigerian government agencies, States drive for Internally Generated Revenue and even local government officials.’’
Alhaji Rabo clarified that despite the huge of operations, FTAN members currently employ thousands of Nigerian workers in hotels, tourist resorts, travel agencies, transport sector, cultural centres, and many tourism related operations.
The 27th day of September every year is recognised as the World Tourism Day by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and other national tourism orgnisations in the world.
The theme of this year 2019 World Tourism Day is “Tourism and Jobs a better future for all.’’
A statement posted on the World Tourism Organisation website regarding the World Tourism Day states that, “Tourism role in job creation is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that tourism generates 10% of the world jobs and is included in sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work.”
Accordingly, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) has challenged the government to encourage growth of tourism industry in Nigeria by reducing the plethora of taxes, levies and import duties imposed on already struggling tourism businesses and operators in Nigeria.