*The FCTA promised land to assist the Federation to build a Tourism Village in the nation’s capital, Abuja
By Justina Okpanku
The new President of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr. Nkereuwem Onung has visited the FCTA Administration in an effort to position the organised private sector tourism in the country. He made some requests to the Federal Capital Territory Administration among which is the need for FCTA to collaborate with the private sector in order to revamp some of the cultural festivals in the FCT.
Onung had explained that the visit was borne out of desire to introduce the new FTAN Executive as well as to promote continued mutual beneficial relationship, with FCT, especially in hosting Nigerian Tourism Investors forum and Exhibition (NTIFE) . He said the annual event has held 6 editions successfully so far. “Together, NTIFE will take Tourism to the next level of development,” he noted.
Accompanied by the new FTAN Exco and Council members, also told the Minister of State for FCT, Hajia Ramatu Aliyu in her office, that they want to strengthen the existing relationship established by the predecessors as well as to seek for new collaboration.
He commended the FCT Administration for the approval of the first ever Auto sports car race competition and for the role the FCT played during the first track exercise in Abuja which he said is another positive step to contribute to tourism in FCT.
The leader of the organized private sector tourism (FTAN) appealed to the minister for the speedy completion of the hosting process to enable the road show take off fully. He also stressed the need for the administration to also collaborate with the private sector to develop some of the tourism sites within the FCT like Jabi Lake.
He reminded the minister of the letter sent by the FTAN indicating interest to partner with FCT to develop some tourism sites within FCT.
He said it is important to create a wider circuit so that when people come to do business in Abuja they will have places to go, “for the environment that we belong, they will be a need for a tourism village, some land could be set aside for the private sector by the government.
“We could together develop this property so that anybody who comes to Nigeria will have a feel of our tourism potential and we believe if this is given attention, it will further promote our tourism perspective as a nation.”
FTAN President also used the visit to request for a land to build a tourism house in FCT for the Federation.
He also informed the minister of FTAN plan to host a National Tourism Summit in Abuja where all stakeholders in the sector will come together to brainstorm on the achievements, challenges and way forward.
Onung raised alarm over multiple taxation between FCT and AMAC and advised on the need to harmonize all the tariff on taxes to enable businesses in FCT to thrive.
Responding, the minister of FCT, Aliyu said so many plans are on the pipeline for revamping the Abuja festivals. On developing the Mpape crushed rock, she said government is already putting structures on ground to develop the site to the standard that will attract both local and international tourists on daily basis to the site.
Aliyu identified some challenges that need to be addressed before proper development of the site to include relocation of the residents from the area, which she said will require compensation, security, access road amongst others.
She decried the level of poor standards in hotel facilities within FCT and promised to partner with FTAN to embark on a tour to access the facilities and services rendered in the various hotels. She said the tour will also enable them to discover other activities going on in the hotels.
She described multiple taxation as a burning issue that is not only affecting members of FTAN alone but also those doing business within FCT, blaming it on unharmonised policies. She however said the issue is receiving due diligence at the National Assembly.
The minister assured that government will soon come up with policies that will address the issue of overlapping .
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the plan for the Tourism Village may have begun as Aliyu was said to have assigned her aide to follow up on FTAN request by involving the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to ensure that land is allocated to the FTAN within the shortest possible time.
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