A consultant, teacher and astute scholar in the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Alhaji Aliyu M. Sheriff has stressed the need for strict regulation and standardization of service delivery at all levels in the tourism industry for it to achieve its full potentials.

Alhaji Sheriff stated this in a paper, titled, “Contemporary Issues in the Promotion and Marketing of Nigeria as a Desired Tourism Destination,” in the seminar organised by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation on the theme, “International Tourism Promotion and Marketing in Nigeria,” which took place on the 9th of October, 2014 at Nanet Suites and Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He defined tourism as, “a competitive business of attracting and hosting visitors and tourists to a country for the purposes of business, leisure,” and further examining tourism under four basic perspectives: National Tourism, International Tourism, Domestic and Internal Tourism.

Defining International Tourism, which was the main focus in the discourse as, “a visit by residents of a country to another country for the purpose of tourism such as Nigerians visiting South Africa,” he noted that it has to do with outbound and inbound tourists.

According to him, the inbound tourism involved visit to a country by non-residents of that country, for example, the Chinese visiting Nigeria and attracting the kind of investment and promotion Nigeria desires to be a preferred tourism destination, which was what the workshop aimed at achieving.

Elaborating on contemporary issues and challenges militating against the promotion and  marketing of Nigeria as a preferred tourism destination and giving her the pride of place among emerging world economies, Sheriff was of the opinion that, inadequate political will, lack of a flag carrier, absence of convention and visitor bureau, non-existent of regulation, lack of research and market segmentation, inadequate trained and committed tour operators, under-developed tourism products, inadequate trained manpower and lack of basic infrastructure were responsible.

He averred that Nigeria’s ability to succeed as an international tourism destination will depend largely upon tackling the challenges especially the skills, qualities and knowledge that tourism officials bring to bear on the sector; and that for him, these can only be achieved through adequate political will, commitment of government and high standards of tourism education, training and retraining that meet global best practices.

Some dignitaries at the Tourism International Seminar were the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, who represented the Honourable Minister, Chief Edem Duke; President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr. Akin Bokun; Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma; Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, NICO, Mr. Alex Omijie; Director of National Orientation in the Ministry, Mrs. Grace Abumeri, who read the Permanent Secretary’s address; her Domestic Tourism counterpart, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Director-General of Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Regina Etiabasi, among others.

It would be recalled that the first Domestic Tourism Seminar organised for tourism stakeholders in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT by the Ministry held on the 18th September, 2014, at the same venue.

Njideka Dimgba
Corporate Affairs Unit
NICO, Abuja