By Laide Akinboade
ABUJA – Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed, hasÂ urged stakeholders in theÂ tourism industry to ensure that they are current with the development and best practices around the world.
The Minister stated this whenÂ Hotel and Personal Services Employersâ€™ Association (HOPESEA) executives led by its president Mr. Samuel Alabi visited himÂ in his office recently.
While noting that keeping abreast with best practices around the world will make the country a tourist destination, the minister disclosed thatÂ theÂ tourism industryÂ now contributesÂ to the Gross Domestic Product of many nations.
The association visited the Minister to inform him about their planned national conference and to solicit the ministryâ€™s support towards the event.
According to the Minister, â€œThe tourism industry is gaining growing influence in the global market, contributing substantially to the economies and Gross Domestic Product of many countries. Every effort should therefore be put in place to ensure that our hotels, restaurants and similar establishments are tourist_friendlyâ€.
He assured them, â€œThe ministry is addressing the problems facing the hospitality sub_sectorÂ such as: levies and imposts by the federal, states and local governments which raise operating costs; multiple and overlapping taxation regime; confusing and multiple licensing and controls; lack of grading and classification scheme of hotels in the country andÂ inadequate power and water supply.
â€œThe hospitality sub_sector is very crucial to the development of tourism in Nigeria because the quality of touristsâ€™ accommodation determines a great deal the volume of touristâ€™s inflow into the country. It is therefore important that our hotels and similar establishments should provide high quality services that will satisfy the yearnings of tourists who are looking for value for their money spentâ€.
Earlier in his speech, HOPESEA President , pledged the support of the association to the minister.
â€œTourism is not only an economic multiplier, unlike petroleum; it is a veritable ingredient for nationâ€™s building and physical growth. It opens up the rural areas to development and provides employment and incomeâ€.