Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), has urged stakeholders in the tourism industry to always upgrade their professional knowledge for effective service delivery.
Kangiwa made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos as the world celebrates the 2020 edition of the World Tourism Day.
He said that Nigeria’s tourism industry would fare better if stakeholders worked hard to upgrade their knowledge about the industry in line with global best practices.
According to him, stagnated knowledge about extant developments and trending issues in the sector has affected tourism industry growth in the country.
“We must continue to acquire professional knowledge that will equip us to deliver efficient services and promote the growth of the industry,” he said.
“By upgrading our skills and knowledge, we will be equipped to use the latest techniques being employed by our counterparts across the globe to brace up with global standards,” he said.
He said that NIHOTOUR was willing to promote service delivery and industry growth through the provision of opportunities for constant training and re-training of practitioners.
“I urge tour operators, travel agents, tour guides, hoteliers and other practitioners in the tourism value chain to constantly upgrade their knowledge for greater efficiency.
“This is very important to tourism growth. Standardisation and professionalism should not be jettisoned if we must move the industry forward,” he said.
Kangiwa told NAN that the theme for the 2020 edition of the tourism day celebration: ` Tourism and Rural Development’ was a call on stakeholders to positively affect rural communities.
“The theme reminds us of our roles in rural community development, a huge amount of natural tourism assets are found in the rural communities.
“It is our duty to promote local tourism potential such as festivals, cultures, arts and natural sites for global recognition and acceptance,” he said.
The NIHOTOUR director-general identified poor record keeping and tourism receipt statistics as major challenges facing the industry.
“As an institute, we will work with the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics to ensure accurate and factual figures of tourist’s receipts, this will change the people’s perception about tourism as mere leisure instead of a viable business.
“We are talking about a very vibrant market, one that can contribute significantly to the economy, one of the major problems is the lack of tourism statistics,” he said.
NAN reports that the world tourism day is annually celebrated on September 27 to raise global awareness on the role of tourism, and to demonstrate its effect on social, cultural, political and economic values.