By Chinedu Eze
The President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Nkereuwem Onung has promised to deliver a new more professional association at theÂ AGM slated for the April 9.
In an mail message to members, he said that NATOP has been in transition for years and has grown from 15 professional Tour Operators registered by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in 2011 when other travel associations had over 2000 registered members to a national association that is reckoned with by Nigerians and a thing of envy to others with its growing profile in matters of tourism in Nigeria.
He said because of the rising profile and the quality of the tourism experts found in NATOP, its membership is now sought after by players in the industry.
Parts of the message reads: “Let me use this medium to appreciate all members of NATOP especially the present EXCO for their solidarity and steadfastness that has been exhibited in the past years. It has been a long journey. We picked up an association at a fragile stage with very few members and little visibility and have seen it grow into limelight and prominence to the extent that other associations feel threatened by it.
â€œWe are thankful to Otunba Segun Runsewe D.G NCAC, then D.G NTDC who in 2011 officially registered Tour operators as professional Tourism practitioners in Nigeria. We have witnessed desperate efforts by some individuals who are not Tour OperatorsÂ andÂ some outside forces attempting to scuttle/ disrupt and hijack the association and crash it. Thanks to a few dedicated members of the association who stood firm, supported and funded the association up until now. I appreciate them. Let me state here that; this is the first time government will be Hosting our AGM with commitment. This should be commended.â€
He said that Plateau State Government, in an attempt to refresh and highlight â€œDestination Plateauâ€, has accepted to Host Tour Operators from 7th- 9th of April, 2018.
Furthermore,Unung said NATOP has agreed to partner the government to help grow another tourism destination in Nigeria, thereby promoting domestic tourism, adding that NATOP is a national association and as such her AGM should be rotated across the country.
â€œThis will be my last AGM as President, and as such I invite all members to take advantage of the event and promote tourism in the Plateau,â€ he said.