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FTAN, ANJET Advocate Restoration Of Culture And Tourism Ministry.

THE Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) and the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET) have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to re-establish the defunct Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The president of ANJET, Mr Andrew Okungbowa and Mr Rabo Saleh, FTAN president, said recently in a press statement that there was no other time but now to restore the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

'This should be done if the country and the present government ever hopes to harness the potential of the sector given the abundant opportunities the creative industry and tourism present at this time,'' they said in a joint statement.

Okungbowa said it would be a disservice to the tourism and culture industry and opposed to the commitment of the Federal Government to diversify the country's economy if it continued to ignore calls for the restoration of the tourism and culture ministry.

According to the duo, the tourism and culture ministry was created by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and later merged with information in 2015 by President Buhari.

It said that some countries, including United Arab Emirates were reaping from the windfall of tourism and culture and to enjoy this, Nigeria must have a dedicated ministry for the creative industry and tourism.

'The experiment with the information and culture ministry in the last four years did not achieve the desired goal as culture and tourism was treated as second fiddle to information.

'As a result of this, opportunities to develop the sector and upgrade the creative industry were missed and sacrificed on the altar of politics.

'There is no better time than now when insecurity in the land has got to an alarming level that the country needs a separate ministry of culture and tourism.

'With the minister focusing on the best ways of harnessing communication and marketing mix to drive the sector, infuse confidence in the source markets both domestic and international through the appropriate messaging mode,' he said.

Also, Mr Rabo Saleh, the FTAN president, said that the former minister's lack of understanding and concern for the tourism sector was the major reason FTAN and other culture and tourism stakeholders were clamouring for a restoration of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

'We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency create a Ministry of Culture and Tourism so that tourism can be given its rightful place and attention.

'It should not be made to play a second fiddle to information as we have seen displayed by the former minister and his team who totally disregarded our events for other matters they rated more important,' he said.

Saleh said the only practical way to drive tourism at the national level was to have a minister of culture and tourism.

He said the minister would be fully focused on working with the stakeholders and agencies of government in harnessing and developing the potential of the sector through policies, programme initiation and implementation.

'These were lacking in the last four years because the minister had so much on his plate and chose to focus attention on information only,' he said.

The two bodies indicated their readiness to work with the minister so appointed for the ministry when created to cover lost grounds and fast-track development of the sector.

According to them, there was much more to gain from creating a ministry of culture and tourism than there was to lose.
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Aug 2, 2019
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