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On the occasion of the World Tourism Day 2019, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria has called on Governments in Nigeria, including Federal and States, to diversify the nation's economy by stimulating the development of tourism clusters and tourists destinations across the country. The tourism federation spoke through their President Alhaji Saleh Rabo in Uyo, where he is representing the private sector at the World Tourism Day event organized by the Akwa Ibom State.
Alhaji Rabo stated that tourism development is a guaranteed way of creating employment in Nigeria, especially in tourist host communities in rural areas. He revealed that globally, the tourism industry is one of highest employer of labour, both skilled and unskilled; insisting that the value chain of the tourism economy is robust and sustainable. To this end, Alhaji Rabo called on the Government to create tourism industry ease of doing business and incentivize investments by Nigeria tourism operators.

The FTAN President specifically asked that State Governments should give tourism business operators in their domain tax holidays, and that the Federal Government equally waive import duties for tourism operators. He argued that presently 85% hotels and tourist resorts in Nigeria are owned by FTAN members, but they are being deviled with barrage of taxes and levies by federal government agencies, States drive for IGR and even local government officials. Alhaji Rabo clarified that despite the huge of operations, FTAN members currently employ hundreds of thousand of Nigerian workers in hotels, tourist resorts, travel agencies, transport sector, cultural centres, and many tourism related operations.

The 27th day of September every year is recognized as the World Tourism Day by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and other national tourism organizations in the world. The theme of this year 2019 World Tourism Day is, "Tourism and Jobs a better future for all". A statement posted on the World Tourism Organization website regarding the World Tourism Day states that,  "Tourism role in job creation is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that tourism generates 10% of the world jobs and is included in sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work".

Accordingly, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) has challenged the government to encourage growth of tourism industry in Nigeria by reducing the plethora of taxes, levies and import duties imposed on already struggling tourism businesses and operators in Nigeria. The FTAN President opined that a thriving domestic tourism sector in Nigeria can create thousands of job on an annual basis. He cited records of the World Tourism Organisation which states 1 out of 10 workers in the world are directly employed in the tourism industry.

He further clarified that because most of Nigeria's tourist attractions are in the hinterlands, the industry if well supported by government policies can significantly alleviate poverty in the rural host communities, employ more women and youths, support small and medium scale enterprises, and many more
economic multiplier effects.




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