The Federal Government has charged the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) to embark on digital training for tourism and hospitality personnel in the industry for effective service delivery.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the charge on Thursday in Abuja, at the 2021 Annual Master Lecture Series (AMLS) of the NIHOTOUR, with the theme: “Professionalizing the Nigerian Hospitality and Tourism Personnel in a Pandemic World”.
Mohammed, who was represented by the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr Femi Coker, said that the individual had to be trained and retrained, in line with the dynamic nature of the digital ecosystem and movement from one stage to another.
He said that such dynamic environment would help people more, along with the change which is not only in private sector, but also in public sector.
The minister urged the public sector to also invest in digital capacity the way the private sector was doing.
“The world is changing, it is no longer pen and paper, but it is now Hi- phone, Samsung and the rest of it, which is a different ecosystem. We must not fold back digital revolution; we must drive into it even when we do not know what is going on there.
“The marketing of tourism is not only by chance, but also on social media, so the structure the NIHOTOUR depends on must change. NIHOTOUR must also gather data for decision-taking because I feel it is the way it is going. You have to grow the business before crossing the line into perfectibility, because whatever tourism and hospitality does NIHOTOUR must be sustained,” he said.
Also, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, in her goodwill message, said the COVID-19 pandemic had greatly affected both hospitality and tourism industry worldwide, presenting negative impact on country’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Represented by the Director, Domestic Tourism and Ecotourism, Mr Patricia Narai, she added that the cancellation in various hotels and travel bookings, resulted to massive revenue and job losses to the sector.
“As the theme of this year implies, it is imperative that hoteliers trained their human resources to ensure that guests compile with Covid-19 protocols, before entering and while within the premises to reduce the spread of it. The guidelines should be made available in form of flyers, poster, hand bill, indicating the necessary precautions to be taken by the guests,” she said.
Earlier, the Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, said that the Annual Masters Lectures Series was a critical component of the institute’s academic activity that started in 2016, marking its fifth edition.
According to him, the lecture series was instituted to attract hospitality and tourism practitioners, professionals and intellectuals, who will provide valuable information.
“The aim of the AMLS is to attract Tourism and Hospitality intellectuals who will provide informative, engaging and thought-provoking lectures on varying issues that are germane to the growth and development of the Nigerian Tourism and Hospitality sector.
“Tourism, as we all know, is the fastest growing industry in the world, contributing substantially to the economics of most country. It is also the sector that stimulates development in terms of income generation, employment opportunities, foreign exchange earnings, taxation etc, with the attendant multiplier and spill over effects on the rest of economy.
“Unfortunately for humanity, the world is currently going through very traumatising phase, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the travel, tourism and hospitality industry been the hardest hit in all facets of all its operations, this, I may say, informed the choice of the theme of this year,” Kangiwa said.