Senate Seeks Closer Partnership to Grow Tourism Sector

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Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Senate has called for closer partnership between it and operators of the hospitality and tourism industry in order to maximise the immense potential in the sector for the overall benefit of the country.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Tourism and Culture, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, who made the call in Abuja at a one-day validation workshop on hospitality, travels and tourism Trades, said there was the need for stakeholders to forge a closer partnership to advance the tourism sector.

He expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to provide the enabling laws to advance the sector, adding that all that was required from the operators was for them to provide the legal framework.

The lawmaker regretted that the tourism sector, to a large extent, was not well organised because of the dearth of relevant laws, noting that with better organisation, it has greater potential to contribute to economic growth than many sectors of the economy.

In her address, the Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR),Mrs.Chika Balogun, said training and retraining of hospitality and tourism operators was indispensable to guarantee the muchneeded growth and transformation.

Balogun noted that the time for rhetorics was over and challenged all the stakeholders to forge a common front to take the sector to the desired height, adding that “the process of bridging the gap between training and industry takes formal structure through the establishment of some kind of qualifications framework.”

The Country Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO),in his key note address on “Sector Skills Council: How it has worked in other Countries,” stressed the importance of Sector Skills Council in ensuring quality assurance mechanism for effective service in the industry, and lauded the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) as well as NIHOTOUR for their leading roles in the Hospitality and Sector Skills Council.

NIHOTOUR was appointed by the NBTE to serve as the Sector Skills Council for Hospitality and Tourism sector of the Nigerian economy, and in that capacity, the Institute organised a workshop to validate National Occupational Standards (NOS), which specifies the standard of performance that people are expected to achieve in their work and the knowledge as well as the skills needed.

Also through this forum, the Council brings together representatives from the stakeholders in the sector for the common purpose of skills and workforce development of the hospitality and tourism industry that bridges the skills gaps and increases productivity.