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Published On: Mon, Nov 30th, 2020

Capacity building key to tourism sector growth – Minister

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By Mashe Umaru Gwamna

The Minister of Information and Culture,  Lai Mohammed, has said
that capacity building for players in the tourism sector is key to the
development of the sector.

The Minister stated this in Makurdi, Benue State, yesterday at the
formal take-off of the North Central Zonal Headquarters of the
Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

“Now, one of the prerequisites for tourism to develop and play its
desired role in the socio-economic life of a nation is availability of
well-trained personnel. This forms the basis for the Federal
Government’s decision to have a specialized training institution
forthe hospitality and tourism industry in Nigeria, which culminated
in the establishment of the National Institute for Hospitality and
Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

“NIHOTOUR is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Information
and Culture, and it is saddled with providing skills proficiency,
technical upgrading programmes and professional knowledge-based
education in the hospitality and tourism industry in Nigeria and West
Africa,” he said.

This was contained in statement signed by Segun Adeyemi
Special Assistant To The President (Media)
Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

Mohammed said tourism has now become a major catalyst for
economic growth and social well-being of the citizenry in most countries around the world, especially the developing countries.

In Nigeria, he said, the Travel, Hospitality, Tourism and other
related services have over 1 million private establishments employing
over 9.8 million persons in the 36 States of the Federation and the
Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister said the hospitality industry in Nigeria contributed
about 4.8% to Nigeria’s total national output (GDP) and utilized about
1.6% of Nigerians in the year 2016, adding that  according to
PricewaterhouseCooper’s  2019 hospitality report, the Nigerian
hospitality industry was expected to grow by 12% yearly till 2023,
making it one of the fastest growing markets, before the advent of
Covid-19.

The Minister said the Federal Government has been doing a lot to
alleviate the impact of the pandemic, especially as it affects the
Creative and Tourism Sector, through its N75 billion Survival Fund for
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, where the Federal Government has
paid 2,186 to  companies employing 12,117 individuals, under the
payroll support, as part of the efforts to cushion the effects of the
pandemic.

He thanked the Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, for building
and donating the edifice to NIHOTOUR and described the gesture as a
giant stride in the development of tourism in the state and the
country in general.

“Your Excellency, I want to thank you most sincerely for promise made
and promise kept. The donation of this magnificent edifice shows your
commitment to the growth of the Hospitality and Tourism sector in
Benue state and, by extension, improvement in the quality of service
delivery by the personnel that run the sector. You have indeed taken a giant stride in this Sector, and we are most grateful to you,”Mohammed said.

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