Why We Chose Calabar For Our AGM—-NATOP Boss
The President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) and Chairman of Remlords Tours and Car Hire Services, Mr Nkereuweng Onung, has stated that the association chose Calabar for its Annual General Meeting(AGM)because it was in that same city that it secured the support of stakeholders to promote Calabar as a tourism destination.
This is just as he stated that the forthcoming event scheduled for February 11, 2016 in Calabar would be a unique and befitting AGM.
The NATOP boss ,who made this known in a media briefing in Lagos added that the body was strategising to restore the Nigerian tourism dreams by finding its missing link in a diversified economy like that of Nigeria at the AGM.
Explaining the choice of Calabar as the venue for the AGM, the NATOP President stated that the association chose Calabar for the rebirth because it was in the state in the year 2000 that NATOP through the support of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), ADC, British Airways and Mrs Onari Duke helped to drive the rise of Cross River as a tourism destination.
The event with the theme,” Nigeria Tourism: The Missing link in a Diversified Economy” is set to Re-position and restore the Nigerian tourism industry by taking it to a greater height is scheduled for February 11, 2016 in Calabar.
NATOP,he posited wants to give the tour operators a new direction by getting them also to market the destination Nigeria at the AGM in Calabar.
Onung stated that NATOP was inviting the owners of tourism products to come and meet with the tour operators to create a synergy, adding that Nigerian tour operators have been at the forefront of supplying tourists to other countries, stressing that the development has to change.
“Nigerian tour operators are the biggest suppliers of tourists on the continent. In 2015, Africa suffered a 3per cent loss on arrivals down from a 4 per cent annual growth in the past years. Yet despite a shrinking spending power due to falling oil prices, a lot of Nigerians still travelled abroad. The interim figure from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority( NCAA) showed that more than $1.5billion was spent on international flight tickets last year.” He said
He also revealed that at this AGM, NATOP will honour those visionary members and supporters, who worked hard to create the tourism vision that Cross River implemented and delivered.
He added that outside Cross River State, NATOP will partnered with 7 Wonders of Nigeria to promote the destination Nigeria, adding that for the first time in Nigeria in 2012, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation( NTDC )involved Nigeria tour operators in the World Travel Market( WTM,) NATOP also partnered annually with Akwaaba African Travel Market to bring people to Nigeria.
Remlords Chairman stated that the association has invited other culture and tourism parastatals and all state tourism commissioners and tourism board to come and present their tourism products to their tour operators.
The event is supported by the South African Tourism, Rwandair, NCAA, Cross River State Government and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
Onung listed the Speakers lined up for the AGM to include: Pat Utomi who will be dissecting the theme of the AGM, the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, the chief host and presentations by the Carnival Commission chairman, Gab Onah.
He said the minister of information and Culture, Lai Muhammed is expected as the special guest of honour while the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Folurunsho Folarin Coker will be speaking on converting our nine digit population to money spinner, the Lagos State perspective.
Other speakers expected to present papers at the event include, the South African regional director, Pisto Hloni who will be speaking on how government policies drive tourism: Lessons from South Africa, the managing director of FAAN will be speaking on Aviation and Tourism: who needs whom?, the Director General National Council for Arts and Culture , NCAC, Mrs Dayo Keshi on the role of Culture in the development and promotion of Nigeria, while the director general, National Commission for Musuems and Monuments, Alhaji Usman will speak on preserving Nigerian’s heritage and monuments for a tourism economy.