By Babajide Okeowo
Experts at the just concluded third edition of the Tourism Transportation Summit and Expo held in Abuja have called for strong political will from government and high level investments in critical sectors within the Nigerian tourism and transportation space if tourism is to attain the level of growth and development desired by the industry in the country.
The two-day event which witnessed the presentation of over 14 highly researched and thought provoking papers by professionals and experts from both the public and private sectors as well as the academia noted that a functional service delivery in the country’s transportation system in synergy with a holistic developmental framework for tourism policy planning, implementation and evaluation are key to entrenching an economically viable tourism industry in the country.
The Summit with the theme Repositioning Tourism and Transportation Connectivity and Mobility to Revitalize the Economy had eight Sub-Themes ranging from Repositioning the Nation’s Maritime Industry for Sustainable Growth and Improved Contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); Enhancing Traveler’s Safety and Security in a Globalized Economy; Tourism and Transportation Interdependency: Best Practices and Impact; and Maintaining Resilient Infrastructure and Institution for Sustainable Transportation and Tourism Development.
Others were Capacity Building and the Professionalism of the Tourism and Transportation Industry; Transportation Intermodal Connectivity in Africa- Dealing with the Barrier; Blue Economy: Panacea to Sustainable Development of the Transportation and Tourism Industry in Nigeria and Virtual Business Imperative: Values, Infrastructural Challenges, and Threat Post Covid-19, they noted that while the government needs to provide policy/regulatory guidelines and the provision of critical infrastructures, the organized private sector should invest massively in the sector and ensure efficient and functional service delivery that meets international and global best practices.
Speakers at the Summit and Expo underscored the strong bond and synergy existing between transportation and tourism, stressing that one cannot do without the other which therefore means operators in both industries must collaborate, support, and constantly explore areas of positive synergy to complement each other in their daily operations for the good of the socio-economic development of the country.
Declaring the Summit and Expo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha reiterated the federal government’s resolve to accord tourism a prime place in the economic plans of the administration aim at revitalizing the economy in the post-covid-19 economic plan agenda for sustainable growth of the country.
On his part, Chief Abiodun Odusanwo National President of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), and Chairman, Inter-ministerial Organizing Committee (IOC) while welcoming delegates and exhibitors to the 2-day event, said the objective of the annual Summit and Expo is to deepen the connectivity and interplay between Tourism and Transportation and urged all concerns to explore the interdependency in the travel tourism and transportations industries for maximum inclusive growth and sustainable development of the Nigerian economy.
As it is the tradition at the end of the two-day Summit and Expo, the date of the next edition was announced to hold from Monday 26th to Tuesday 27th April 2021 which will be the fourth edition of the Annual National Tourism Transportation Summit and Expo since it started in 2018.