Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 November 2012

Nigeria: Govt Must Partner Private Sector to Boost Tourism - Operator

Nigeria must partner private sector to ensure that necessary tourism infrastructure, as well as effective communication machinery are put in place to achieve international standards in Nigeria.

At a one-day symposium held in, Abuja to educate potential tourists with destinations within and outside Nigeria on places to visit and how to go about making reservations for their trips, Mrs. Lami Angela Ahmed, Executive Director, Halta Travels and Tours said discussions are in process with the tourism authorities to achieve this goal.

"We as tourism operators in Nigeria partner with Mr. Orlandini in pursuance of developing the cruise prospects in Nigeria. One of the reasons he came was the fact that Africa is the focus of the whole world now."

She, however, said in spite of the wealth of tourist destinations in Nigeria, the sector is still undeveloped and the average Nigerian is not yet exposed to tourism and its potentials. Focusing on local and international tourism, she said "we offer cruise to our customers that want to see the world and it is in that regard that we partner with the Italian.

"Presently, we have registered with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and as the government arm; we partner with and make them know the desire of Africans. The industry is vast but the government needs to put the facilities and structures in place. So, far, the company has been campaigning for awareness in tourism but they expect government to build the country's image and provide necessary environment for the private sector to thrive.

The event was in collaboration with Mr. Vincenzo Orlandini an Italian based tour operator specializing in cruises

Orlandini, with three decades' experience in the sector said Nigeria has great potentials to be destination for vacation with its vast territory, culture and financial resources. "It is a country in Africa that can play a key role in tourism in Africa. Of course, we can design a product. What I've seen shows that with organisation, the facilities can become very big attractions. My contribution to this challenging project is to bring the experiences I have from an international stand point. I know what international tourists expect when they travel and we'll try to apply those here.

If you bring people here without facility you jeopardize the industry. We need to outline what facilities are lacking and work towards making them available. It all depends on presentation and packaging.

Orlandini said "there is need for the world to see that Nigeria has more than oil and gas. We need to make culture and folklore tools to promote the country. Facilities and communication are what Nigeria needs to attract tourists."

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