The Federal Government has reassured operators in the tourism and transport sectors of an enabling environment to further boost the sector.
Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) stated this while declaring open, the 2019 Tourism Transportation Summit and Expo on Monday in Abuja.
The theme for the two-day summit is “Tourism and Transportation Interdependence for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development’’.
It was organised by Institute of Tourism Professional (ITP) in collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the tourism and transport industry in the country.
Mustapha, represented by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said the theme of the Summit was apt, adding that the synergy between the two sectors was desired more now than ever.
“From available records globally, there are so much that countries can benefits from the sectors particularly as a source of foreign exchange, employment, income generation, infrastructure development and many others.
“This explains why Nigeria should key into tourism and transportation in its economic and social agenda; to achieve success, both government and private sector must partner in the sectors.
“In this expo, I urge participants to dialogue and showcase products and services in the industries with the view to reposition the sector for optimal performance.
“However, government will continue to give policy direction and guidelines and providing enabling environment for the industries to thrive.
“Also, tourism institutions should effectively deliver the advantages in the industry by creating awareness and understanding of the benefits to the country and enhancing institutional capacity, tourism products, development, facilitation, promotion and marketing with the view to making Nigeria a preferred destination among Nigerians.
“Upgrade of infrastructure in the rail, aviation, water and others are all efforts of the government to reposition the transport and tourism sector for inclusive economic development,’’ Mustapha said.
The SGF also stressed that there was no doubt that Nigeria desired peace, reconstructive development and security for tourism to thrive.
According to him, the current administration resolves to secure citizen and visitors to freely move in the conduct of their daily legitimate activities.
He stressed that government would not be distracted by those who involved in falsehood and negative commitments.
“However, in the face of mounting challenges, with absolute cooperation and if citizens play their civil duties and responsibilities, we will overcome these challenges and move the country forward.
“The government on its part is doing its best to adequately equip and motivate our security outfits to enable them confront insecurity challenges.
“So by God’s grace, the country will achieve peace, security and credibility,’’ Mustapha said.
In his good will message, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said that transportation and tourism were inseparable in the development of the two sectors.
Amaechi said that the ministry was committed to linking transport with other sectors including tourism to boost the economy.
Our correspondent reports that Amaechi was represented at the event by Mrs Anthonia Ekpa, the Director of Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration in the ministry.
Similarly, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture said that the theme for the summit demonstrated the positions tourism and transportation occupies in the economy.
According to Mohammed, who was represented by the Director of Domestic Tourism in the Ministry, Mrs Opakiriti Nzobiwu, the connectivity can help in development and marketing of tourism.
“In the past, the main goal of transportation was to move from one place to another, but today such means of transportation are attraction themselves.
“Thus, transportation must be safe affordable and reliable,’’ Mohammed said.
Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General of Nigerian Tourism Development Cooperation (NTDC), said the agency was delighted because of the synergy.
Coker represented by Mrs Adamma Afanga the Director of legal in the Cooperation said NDTC was trying to make Nigerians know that tourism is life.
“It affects all facets of Nigerians. We are trying to package tourism with `Tour Nigeria’ by promoting and encouraging citizens to travel round the country to appreciate the beauty of the country.
“But without transportation, there will be no proper tourism. I would like the communique from this summit to be taken to presidency; let it count in policy formation and implementation,’’ she stressed”.
Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, the National President of IPT, said the summit and the expo, aimed at bringing together all players in the tourism and transportation industries.
According to him, issues hindering the growth of the two sectors could be tackled without sentiments but all sense of sincerity of purpose and patriotic zeal for the economic and social good of the country.
“This is to offer a conducive avenue for expert and policy makers in conjunction with key players and players and operators in the industry to brainstorm on the interconnectedness between transportation and tourism.’’
It was reported that the two-day event attracted officials from Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Transportation and tourism Associations and other relevant stakeholders in the country.