The National President of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Mr Nkereuwem Onung charged stakeholders in the private sector to see training and capacity building as driving force that will set the tune for sustainable tourism in Nigeria.
Onung who gave a remark at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Hotel and Catering Institute (NHCI), in Lagos, recently urged the delegates to continue to update themselves with the latest trend in the industry in order to be at par with the global best practices.
He used the 39th AGM of NHCI which is an avenue for update on industry innovations, ideas sharing and application of best practice for the industry, to commend the association for the smooth transfer of leadership from one president to another.
The FTAN President however urged all other associations under FTAN to borrow a leaf from the model of the NHCI, calling on all member associations of FTAN to organise and hold Annual General Meetings (AGM) and shun the undemocratic positions of life president.
“We expect members to show more interest through practical commitment and participation in the affairs of their associations.”
While responding to some section of stakeholders (individuals), who are itching to be members of the federation, Onung made it clear that FTAN is an umbrella body of so many associations, which statutorily cannot admit an individual as a member, but admit associations as members of the federation.
The FTAN president commended the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Uzamat Folashayo Akinbile, for her strong commitment to the growth of tourism in the state as well as practical collaboration with private sector in tourism
He commended all other hospitality practitioners present at the AGM for standing firm through the pandemic noting that the theme of this year’s conference has been aptly coined to address issues surrounding the hospitality and tourism industry in the new normal and to outline strategies for sustainability, it is no news to anyone here that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our industry but it hasn’t ended it.
Amid the chaos of COVID-19, we were able to adapt because we had to keep our business alive through the available option. The new normal confronted us with a lot of uncertainties but thanks to quick reactions and a willingness to adjust, which has helped us to meet the present trend.
“With more establishments reopening, it’s become clear that some of these changes will outlive our present predicament.
After having shut down for a long while, the industry quickly learned that it must adapt to survive. Now that we have lived with these adjustments for some time, our long-term potential is more apparent.
“The most obvious change to come with reopening is a renewed stress on health and safety. During the pandemic, increased health measures were a government-mandated necessity in some areas. After the pandemic, they’ll be an optional but critical part of preventing future risks.
Some measures, like wearing masks and mandating a six-foot distance between seats, will likely fade with the virus. Others, like frequent hand washing, hand sanitiser stations for guests and regular disinfection, will persist.
“Overall, the industry will take cleanliness more seriously, going beyond meeting regulations and taking a proactive approach to disease prevention.
The other critical sustainability factor is technology which has proven an indispensable resource amid the pandemic. From QR code-based menus to app-based reservations and ordering, technology has sustained the industry throughout the past year.
“These tools can continue to help beyond the pandemic, increasingly making the industry a tech-centric base to boost stakeholders businesses.
There is no one here who was not affected by the pandemic in one way or the other. I know I was and so it comes with the temptation to speak at length about these matters, but I will leave that to the speakers who have been carefully selected to address this year’s theme. It is my desire that after this conference our dear industry begins to see some ray of hope after so many uncertainties.
“Let me commend Chief Mrs Bola Dada and the entire Exco for a job well done. This serves as a notice to other organisations within the federation, who have sit tight presidents. Associations should be democratic and rotate offices. For the incoming leadership, on behalf of the governing council, we promise to give all the support required to succeed”, Onung concluded.