The place of tourism in the Nigeria economy now measured by the use of Tourism Satellite Accounts

The Nigeria Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, has once again pledged commitment to the use of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in measuring the performance and contribution of

The place of tourism in the Nigeria economy now measured by the use of Tourism Satellite Accounts

The Nigeria Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, has once again pledged commitment to the use of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in measuring the performance and contribution of the tourism industry to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

But this new push is coming almost 10 years after the country first introduced TSA into the tourism industry in 2005 without it made functional since then. Speaking at a two day national tourism forum and expo organised in Lagos recently by the ministry, the Permanent Secretary in the tourism ministry, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, the ministry is now poised to change the situation.

According to her, taking a cue from the support and encouragement of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for countries to make TSA a working mechanism, the ministry is now set to make TSA work for the country because it would provide the government and businesses the basic data and information needed on assessing the performance of tourism.
Hence the two days investment forum, which she said, ‘‘seeks to explore, grow, develop, promote, market and generally leverage on the tourism sector to enable us achieve this desired economic development,’’ adding that it would also help to sensitise investors as well as attract private partnership to the industry.

The permanent secretary also re-iterated the fact that the Nigeria tourism industry can significantly contribute to the socio – economic growth of the country and also it GDP. It is for this reason, she said that her ministry is committed to collaborating with ‘‘stakeholders in the industry towards harnessing the abundant opportunities that exist in the sector and to ensure that tourism makes the expected contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide the necessary wealth to alleviate poverty and generate employment.’’

Delivering a goodwill message at the event, the country’s former minister of tourism, Ambassador Franklin Ogbuewu who was the person that first introduced the TSA in 2005 lamented the lack of action on the project since he left the ministry by successive ministers. However, he said, all hope is not lost if the present minister and his team can muster the necessary political will to implement the project.

He also decried the fact that despite the vast and diverse potentials of tourism, Nigerians and the government are yet to embrace it as an economic element. Rather, he said the country still sees tourism as a socio – cultural affair hence the lack of attention being paid to it and the level of funds and investments in the industry.

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To change this tide, Ogbuewu advised the present minister, High Chief Edem Duke to seek for ways to give tourism the proper attention that it deserved. Other than giving its publicity, he said the minister must look for ways to syndicate funds for investment in tourism.
He concluded by insisting on the introduction of the Tourism Development Fund (TDF), which operators in the industry has over the years clamoured for even though the modalities for it has been agreed on and worked out by the government during the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo but it is yet to be publicly launched.

Some of the papers presented and discussed at the national tourism forum and expo with the theme: ‘Sustainable tourism and transformation of the Nigerian economy,’ included ‘the imperative of Tourism Satellite Account for Nigeria,’ by Anitha Soni, a tourism consultant from Johannesburg, South Africa.

In the paper read by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau (CRSTB) Managing Director, Michael Williams, Soni established the basic understanding of TSA and set forth the basic framework and drawing on the South Africa Tourism example, he laid bare the imperatives for Nigeria tourism embrace wholly and in a more functional way TSA if the country ever wishes to put tourism on the front burner.

In his paper, titled ‘the economy, hospitality and the law, the President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) and also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hotel Rosebud, Abuja, Mr. Tomi Akinbogun, examined the place of tourism in the Nigeria economy and submitted that the nation is yet to explore the industry and advised on a more concrete effort at growing the industry even as he decried the excessive taxation that seemed to affect the fortunes of the operators and investors in the industry.

Also in his presentation, the Managing Director of Prime Time Entertainment Limited, Mr. Kenny Ogungbe, focused on ‘the entertainment industry as a veritable tourism product for the socio – economic development of Nigeria.’ He explored the rich entertainment content of the country’s cultural, arts, craft and musical as well as the creative industry and need for them to be properly harnessed and ordered in such a way as to enhance their economic contributions to the country.

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