Professionals reject proposed tourism bill.

Ekene Okafor, Lagos

Awhum Water Fall and Cave in Enugu.

Some industry professionals in Nigeria have opposed the proposed Tourism bill by the National Assembly.

The bill is the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Nihotours Bill that will be available for public hearing on the 15th of June.

Major tourism groupings including the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents, NANTA;  Nigerian Association for Tour Operators, NATOP; Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria ATPN and some other associations are opposing the bill.

The Tourism Journalists Association ANJET said “Nihotour and its team are commended for this work (proposed bill), but going through it critically, the motive and objective for the provisions need to be examined.

Nihotour has completely gone beyond its brief and what is expected of it. If it is a training institute then it should restrict itself to that, regardless of the NOC/NOS/NBTE provisions.

What it is seeking to be with the full provisions of this bill is to become omnibus body and ombudsman of tourism, which shouldn’t be.

It continuesd: +If allowed all the powers and functions that it has arrogated to itself what then becomes the function of NTDC and other bodies and agencies within the country and value chain of tourism and other training institutions in the country.

If this bill goes then we have signed the death knell of hospitality and tourism in the country with everyone under the mercies and dictates of Nihotour and who knows what will become even if international hotel brands and experts.

In our opinion, this bill should be totally discarded and fought against in a more organised.”
In its reaction to the proposed bill the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria ATPN said.”

We must do all what is possible to stop this obnoxious bill. We should also be present at the public hearing to vehemently oppose the bill.”

The Institute of Tourism professionals added its voice: “The proposed bill did not take cognisance of the Supreme Court judgement of 19th July 2013 which pronounced that ” The house of Assembly of Lagos state is the body entitled to the exclusion of any other legislative body, to enact laws with regards to rendering technical advice to the Lagos state and local government in the field of tourism.

The bill seeks to negate the new Executive Order of the Acting President on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria as it seeks to great Bottlenecks for Tourism Professionals Distinguished Senators are therefore urged not to support illegality.”

A leading member of Nigerian Zoo Owners Association called said the bill had a “a rent seekers mentality.”

They want to police the industry when they actually have little to offer. In a highly professional sector that is largely operated by the private sector, I see self regulation by the professional bodies of practitioners as most ideal.”

The Nigerian Association of Tour Operators NATOP says the bill is an attempt to corner and colonize tourism by a training school and should be discouraged.

Other stakeholders were of the opinion that Nihotours should aspire to compete with Tourism schools like Utalli College in Kenya instead of trying to become a trainer, a court and a regulator at the same time.

“Imagine Nigerian Law school combining the role of NBA and NJC Along with its training role. Another Writers Association ATTWON said.

We are calling on FG as a matter of urgency to replace the head of the agency and the management which has not contributed to the industry buy drawing us back to the dark ages. ATTWON, Association of Travel and Tourism Writers of Nigeria.”