NIHOTOUR, bill or not to bill – Femi Fadina

Shell Nigeria

… NIHOTOUR bill continues to draw mix reactions from stakeholders.

As a stakeholder in the tourism industry, I must lend my voice to calm the stormy weather generated by the NIHOTOUR bill; Can we continue to live in mediocrity and expect perfection to abound? Why would many who know better sell dummies for short term gain?

It is sad, Government should be a small player in this industry like ours, but they must regulate, however he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Constructive criticism means calming down enough to decipher this document thoroughly and ask questions about why, what has been written in the NIHOTOUR bill and we must agree to a workable solution for a healthy industry.

If South Africa got it right, it is because they are properly regulated, what is wrong with us and why are we so afraid of policies and procedures that will bring about a long term gain? It goes without saying that Tourism puts a cash injection into a country and it is unthinkable that still in the 21st Century we are still in the dark as to how to progress in this industry.

As we all know, Tourism is crucial for several important reasons, namely, Economic, Business, Leisure, Education and Culture. Because of its major role in attracting wealth to a destination, it is absolutely paramount to ensure that the Tourism industry (like other sectors) that puts a country’s economy into good stead, has rules and regulations, policies and procedures, that govern how things are done and by whom they are carried out.

Tourism plays a fundamental role and should therefore be embedded in the core fabric of any nation’s development plan. Due to the fact that it is a specialist niche, all those involved in the delivery of such a specialized field called Tourism should be trained, certified and regulated for professional conduct.

We need not personalize this issue. We need to look at the now and years to come. For tourism to grow in our nation, the capacity must be backed by the law. For a long time to come, our children would look at the same bill and give a thumbs up or condemn us. Many major brands in this nation cannot give same bad quality of service in Europe or in America, But they find this land easy to sail through and with plenty bounty to reap.

It is my fatherland and we must come together to create a healthy playing field. Most services are being delivered by amateurs who have little or no training and are not accountable: should things continue like this? It is risky to continue operating like this because if and when things do go wrong, the general consensus is that the government is to blame and ultimately the country is viewed as a dangerous place to visit and is flagged up as such.

This bill seeks to make training in the sector mandatory. Might I remind us that tourism is a service driven industry and good service delivery is based on training. This NIHOTOUR bill seeks to professionalise the industry by making us become certified in our chosen areas. It seeks to keep a register of professionals so that these professionals will in turn reap the reward of their hard work and training as they progress. Might I add that training can be in any accredited and duly registered school (a business opportunity right there).

Why the National Occupational Standards NOW if we the same industry won’t agree to be trained? I would suggest that there is a time frame given for those already in the industry to get their certification (if they don’t ready have one). In the case where there are stipulated guidelines, and Tourism personnel are adequately trained, the services provided will be of a good decent standard and would ooze professionalism.

Professionalism will in turn, attract more foreign investors and visitors to the country, thereby more foreign currency will be brought into the country, thus providing more jobs, income and foreign investments. It will stimulate domestic tourism and keep our foreign exchange within.

Furthermore, it encourages the country to become more developed across all sectors, as tourism cuts across every sector of the economy. Tourism has largely been haphazardly organised thus far in our nation. It is important that we professionalize it if we are as a country to benefit from the positive characteristics it brings with it. We must rise up and support this bill call for a round table workshop and discuss not castigate this bill and personalize individuals who are working towards good for all. It is our nation and we must work together.

Prince Femi Fadina

CEO Jethro Tours International


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