Obudu Mountain Resort, Calabar, Cross River State
The temporary halt, though now getting protracted, inadvertently brought on the critical sector of the national economy, Tourism and Hospitality, require urgent attention by experts in collaboration with the government so as to chart a course for the sector’s quick recovery and growth within a reasonable timeline.
This notion was expressed in the new year’s congratulatory message to Nigerians and especially to the three-tier government at the federal, state and the local government levels who, variously have a statutory role to play in tourism promotion, revenue generation and in providing employment for the large army of educated youths who are unemployed.
The Africa United Consulting, AUC, in a media statement signed by its Country Director, Honourable Akinkunmi Fakeye, urged the government to rise in earnest by engaging serious organizations for a proper appraisal of the current challenge as brought about by the ban in air and maritime transportation as instigated by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic
The AUC is an international firm that is highly proficient in tourism and hospitality development, creation of events, development of projects and programs that usually attract funding from various financial institutions. AUC also boast of the acumen in building capacity, manage infrastructure as a way of making tourism and hospitality more sustainable.
The company’s new year message which sounded more of a business pitch was titled, “congratulations for weathering the storm of 2020: demand for collaboration, cooperation to achieve recovery and growth of tourism and hospitality in record time”.
The statement described the year 2020 as the “Lost year”, and highlighted losses suffered in the aviation and hospitality value chain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It stated that “leisure travel suddenly gone defunct, MICE- Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions- business tourism at its finest which aimed at bringing together top professionals from every sector in an enhanced, tailor-made hospitality setting, was virtually defunct in 2020. No hotel booking made as zoom and webinar usurped the business space of MICE. Visits to touristic sites wiped out. These were the conditions in Africa from the end of the first quarter of 2020 to date”.
AUC-Nigeria urged those in authority to take cognizance of the vast landmass in Nigeria and the myriads of its natural endowments and conceive the strategy to skillfully harness those assets in a way that the industry could become the major earner of foreign exchange apart from being the highest employer of labour.
The media statement claimed that United Consulting is armed with all it takes for Nigeria’s tourism and hospitality to soar again, despite just emerging from the “rubbles” of Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.
The new year message gently reminded the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, of the enormous economic benefits in the recently flagged off “African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement”, AfCFTA, meant to create a single continent-wide market for goods and services and to promote the movement of capital and natural persons.
According to Honourable Fakeye, a systematically developed tourism roadmap which takes cognizance of the recently launched AfCTA and the Single Africa Air Travel Market, SAATM, will place Nigeria on a better stead to reap bountifully; economically and socially from the intra African market.
Fakeye added that both AfCFTA and SAATM, hold the potential to largely reduce the youths’ unemployment if not eradicated, inspire trade and industrial revolution and ramp up the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, astronomically.
However, in a telephone interview as to the availability of funding for infrastructural projects on tourism development, in the light of dwindling revenue of government due to the fall in the price of crude oil at the international market, Honourable Fakeye called attention to the Bloomberg.com/news which reported that Nigeria’s stock in 2020 performed better than that of the USA, and others. He said Bloomberg dubbed Nigeria’s stock as the best performing stock market of 2020.
Fakeye further argued that “Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE, also made history by surpassing N20 trillion mark for the first time ever. And the Nigeria stock index posted during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, happened to be the best annual return since 2013.”
He said all those performances by NSE are indices showing that funding cannot be an issue only if those who know how to unlock the funds from where they’re hung, are allowed to step into the centre stage for the serious program of recovery and growth in the travel sub-sector of the national economy.Share