Tourism in Nigeria has thrived as an outbound business with the biggest players being outbound. Nigerians spent annually over $1 billion as flight tickets in the past years to travel abroad. But an emerging phenomenon has seen Nigerian youths take advantage of social media to drive domestic travels and this is why theÂ Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) decided to host the leading youth operators to a workshop and discussion session as a way of mainstreaming them. The young tourism promoters are drawn from Lagos, Ibadan, Uyo and Enugu and would be joined by other emerging tour operators from all over Nigeria. They will be discussing â€˜The Challenges of Promoting Tourism by the Nigerian Youthâ€™.
The panelists will Include Wale Olapade, a tourism journalist from Tribune, Chiamaka Obuekwe of Social Prefect Tours, Pelu Awofeso of Travel Next Door, Sam Adeleke of Afrotourism, Allen Effeh of Ibom Tourism, John Paul Ezeani from Enugu, the Oguntoye Twins from Ibadan and Omotosho Olamilekan. The NATOP AGM will be graced by the former executive governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke who will be the Guest Speaker at 2017 Annual General Meeting. Nigerian Association of Tour Operators is the Umbrella body for tour operators in Nigeria.Â It is a socialised organisation made up of the leading travel specialists in Nigeria. The theme for the 2017 edition which will hold on the 2nd of May at Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, is â€˜Positioning Tourism Within the Nigerian Economic Spaceâ€™. Last year at its AGMÂ held in Calabar with the theme, â€˜Tourism the Low Hanging Fruit in a Depressed Economyâ€™ with Professor Pat Utomi as Guest Speaker, it released a 10-point agenda for tourism in Nigeria which has become the talking point in Nigeria since then. Everyone is talking about low hanging fruit, Presidential Council of Tourism and Review of Tourism Master Plan issues that were raised in Calabar. NATOP also called for the creation of a stand for Tourism Ministry which is yet to receive attention from the government. NATOP was the only tourism association to host a World Tourism Day event last year on September 27. At the event it charged that the government seems to lack the political will to push tourism to its height. This drew an instant response from the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who responded that the government has the political will to move tourism forward.
For the second time NATOP hosted visiting South Africa tour operators on a road show to Nigeria to a city tour of Lagos, which saw them doing a â€˜Know FELA the Legend Tourâ€™ with visits to sites associated with the Famous Black President and Music Maestro Fela Anikulakpo Kuti.
Senator Imoke who will be speaking on â€˜The Building Blocks of Tourism Productsâ€™, will be sharing his experience as a two-term governor of the leading tourism state in Nigeria. Young and aspiring tour operators will be involved in a workshop themed Â â€˜Challenges Facing the Promotion of Tourism by the Youthâ€™. NATOP said it has observed that a lot of young tour operators are promoting domestic tours all over the country and need to be encouraged. According to the President of NATOP Nkereuwem Onung, the CEO of REMLORDS Tours, “These young ones are the future of tourism in Nigeria and we need to support and harness them for the sake of the nation.”