The umbrella body of industry operators and other stakeholders in the country, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), has hailed President Bola Tinubu for establishing a dedicated ministry for the tourism sub-sector of the economy ‘after many years of advocacy.’
FTAN also commended President Tinubu for ‘heeding the collective voice of the industry and recognizing the immense potential that lies within the tourism sector’ in creating a separate ministry for it in his new cabinet.
According to FTAN, in a statement signed by its President, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, barely hours after Tinubu announced his new ministers and their portfolios, Wednesday, the decision to accord the industry a separate ministry ‘speaks volumes about the government’s commitment to harnessing the socio-economic benefits that tourism offers, while also acknowledging the crucial role tourism plays in cultural preservation, community development, and global representation.’
Mr Onung, in his appreciation of Tinubu’s gesture further noted that the move ‘underscores a momentous milestone in the advancement of our nation’s vibrant tourism industry.’
It would be recalled that Tinubu, Wednesday evening, unveiled his new ministers following their confirmation by the senate, last week.
The Senate last Monday, August 7, confirmed 45 ministerial nominees out of the 48 nominees forwarded to it by President Bola Tinubu.
The confirmation followed the consideration and approval of the nominees during the Monday plenary.
From the commencement and conclusion of the screening exercise at the senate, tourism operators and other stakeholders alike had mounted a media siege to the Federal Government calling for a separate ministry of Tourism in order for the sector to fully actualise its full potential and economic contribution to the growth for the country’s economic growth.
The highlight of Wednesday’s unveiling came in the appointment of a new Minister of Tourism, a development which followed intensive clamoring in the country following the neglect of the sub-sector of the economy for decades by subsequent administrations.
Stakeholders had mounted an appeal, including intensive lobbying for a separate ministry of Tourism in the country. The new ministry is headed by Ms. Lola Ade-John, described as a banker and a seasoned Information and Technology expert.
Ms. Ade-John is regarded as a leader in designing, integrating, deploying, and managing core systems for global banking institutions.
With the creation of a Tourism ministry, it is expected that more agencies and parastatals will be added to it to beef up the new ministry, in addition to the existing two agencies operating in the Old Ministry of Culture and Information.
Only the National Institute for Tourism and Hospitality (NIHOTOUR) and the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) cater to the demands of the subsector, presently.
It would also be recalled that the country’s immediate past minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who also oversaw affairs of Tourism, was recently officially appointed the Special adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili.
In the letter titled; ‘APPRECIATION & CONGRATULATIONS,’ FTAN, through its President, also congratulated the pioneer Minister of Tourism, Ms Lola Ade-John on her appointment, while also pledging assistance and support of the entire tourism industry operators to ‘collaborate closely and leverage our collective expertise to support your efforts in propelling the Nigerian tourism industry to unprecedented heights.’
According to Onung, the new minister’s ‘expertise in IT positions you to leverage innovative digital solutions, enhance destination marketing strategies, and ensure seamless digital experiences for both domestic and international tourists.’
Continuing, Onung enthused that ‘this intersection of IT and tourism promises to drive efficiency, accessibility, and global competitiveness within our industry.’
“On behalf of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), we commend and applaud President Bola Tinubu for heeding the collective voice of the industry and recognizing the immense potential that lies within the tourism sector as this speaks volumes about the government’s commitment to harnessing the socio-economic benefits that tourism offers, while also acknowledging the crucial role tourism plays in cultural preservation, community development, and global representation.
“This significant step of creating a stand-alone ministry dedicated to tourism underscores a momentous milestone in the advancement of our nation’s vibrant tourism industry.
“We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to all individuals and organizations who tirelessly advocated the establishment of a dedicated Ministry of Tourism. The united effort of the tourism community, industry stakeholders, and supporters has paved the way for this historic development, and we are grateful for their unwavering commitment and passion.
“I extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Lola Ade-John on your appointment as the Minister of Tourism for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Your esteemed background in Information Technology (IT) presents a unique advantage to the tourism sector.
“As the world becomes increasingly digitized, technology is shaping the way travelers explore, book, and experience destinations. Your expertise in IT positions you to leverage innovative digital solutions, enhance destination marketing strategies, and ensure seamless digital experiences for both domestic and international tourists. This intersection of IT and tourism promises to drive efficiency, accessibility, and global competitiveness within our industry.
“As FTAN, we stand ready to collaborate closely with your esteemed office and leverage our collective expertise to support your efforts in propelling the Nigerian tourism industry to unprecedented heights. “We believe that under your visionary leadership, the industry will not only experience growth but will also contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economic diversification, job creation, and cultural enrichment.
“Our commitment to working hand-in-hand with you is unwavering. We pledge to galvanize the tourism industry, unify our diverse voices, and collectively work towards the shared goal of unlocking the full potential of tourism for the betterment of our nation.
“Together, we can pave the way for a future where Nigeria stands prominently on the global tourism stage, showcasing its rich heritage, natural beauty, and warm hospitality.
“Once again, congratulations on your well-deserved appointment, Ma’am. We eagerly anticipate the positive impact your leadership will bring to the tourism landscape of Nigeria. Please consider FTAN a steadfast partner in your journey, dedicated to fostering prosperity, innovation, and sustainable growth within the industry,” the FTAN statement read in full.