Principal and key tourism associations have concluded plans to dump the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) for a new effective and purposeful private sector tourism organization to be known as Legacy Tourism Association Forum (LTAF).
The deed which was a clear response to the many sins of Tommy Akingbogun led FTAN, was sealed and signed in Jos, capital of Plateau state last week.
Last week, the outgoing president of FTAN was in Lagos to woo the Nigerian travel press to support his game plan to transfer power to an anointed candidate who incidentally was also in Jos to witness the inauguration of the new tourism body.
Going by the various commitments and assurances by the various tourism associations’ leadership at the Jos forum, FTAN as presently constituted is as good as dead and buried, maybe with Tommy Akingbogun and his cohorts as undertakers and mourners.
The Jos tourism political coup was long in coming, considering several warnings and signs that FTAN needed rebranding, re-jigging and re-motivated to confront the many challenges facing tourism players in Nigeria.
Significantly, the federation founded about 21 years ago to address and wrestle the collective destiny of tourism practitioners from the “Russian iron hold” of Mike Amachree Presidency of the then Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN), the umbrella body of all private sectors association, also has 21days from the time of the coup in Jos to finally hand over the baton to the real owners of tourism associations in Nigeria.
Indeed and possibly true is that the planned convention of FTAN in Abuja on June 30th may end up in fiasco and huge disappointment to Tommy Akingbogun and his co-misadventures’ who are frantically running around in the dark to find a way out of whatever is left of FTAN.
Sources close to the power blocks which constituted the new legacy tourism forum told me that the group will not shy away in taking up any institution including the federal and state governments on any perceived policies that may affect the growth of tourism in Nigeria, a positive feature of the advocacy timeline that FTAN under Akingbogun failed to mainstream.
The legacy tourism forum will advocate and drive Legislations that would address vexing issues of multiple taxation, security challenges, sanitation and environmental degradation, poor road networks and absence of tourism human capacity building for the sector.
It is also the dream of the legacy forum to demand from federal and state governments, a clean sheet on budget breakdown for ministry of tourism and its agencies, and the institution of public hearing or town hall meetings as a precondition to any agenda to spend and execute public tourism projects.
To check the growing sad incidence of tourism budget misapplication by the ministry and most of its agencies, the forum will also set up and fund a private tourism sector monitoring group to ensure that tourism funds are spent as projected and allocated.From this reporter’s close interaction at group and individual levels, the forum may grow into a super agency of tourism, a tourism government for tourism and for tourism practitioners alone, a clear departure from the failed
From this reporter’s close interaction at group and individual levels, the forum may grow into a super agency of tourism, a tourism government for tourism and for tourism practitioners alone, a clear departure from the failed FTAN experiment which was watered down to accommodate fly by night tourism consultants, portfolio investors, tourism racketeers and their fronts in government tourism agencies and in the ministry.
Those who doubt the influence and legitimacy of the forum are in for big shock as the group pulled strings to visit the deputy governor of Plateau State, Sonni Gwanle Tyoden and the paramount ruler of Plateau state and Gbong Gwon Jos, Da Jacob Buba to assure the people of Plateau state that tourism will rise again in the land.
The Legacy Tourism forum expressed happiness at the enduring peace in Jos under Simon Lalong, governor of the state, and promised to help Jos rebound as the tourism capital of Nigeria, a position which it lost to seven years of unfortunate disharmony in the land.Both the Deputy Governor and the Gbong Gwon Jos called for
Both the Deputy Governor and the Gbong Gwon Jos called for strengthening of tourism infrastructure in Nigeria and enjoined the forum to bring all Nigerians together for the sake of tourism growth and development.
Plateau state deputy governor who was visibly impressed by the Caliber and presence of members of the forum, promised to work with the group to promote the state tourism carnival and put Jos tourism back on the front burner of tourism discuss in Nigeria.At
At the palace of the Gbong Gwon Jos, the group got a standing assurance from the traditional ruler who promised to help network and create an enduring platform to which the forum and traditional rulers in Nigeria can partner to market cultural festivals in Nigeria.
For the records and put to rest the minds of doubting ‘Thomas’(es) on the emergency of this group, those sighted and counted at the Jos meeting of the new tourism association initiative include, Mr. Kabir Mallan, President of ATPN, Bankole Bernard of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Nkerenweum Onung, President NATOP, Andrew Ehanire, President Zoo Association of Nigeria, Gani Tarzan Balogun, President ATBOWATAN, Rabo Saleh, MD, All STATES Travel and FTAN President nominee, Mr. John Likita Best, SA, Tourism to Plateau governor and Ikechi Uko, Tourism trade expo facilitator and publisher ATQ magazine.