Mediocrity In The Travel And Tourism Industry

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Over the years, the Nigerian Tourism Industry has been bedeviled with many people leading it, of which without doubt, were not supposed to be occupying those positions.

Even when such mistakes have been made in appointing such unfit persons into such offices, they suddenly assumed a status of ‘tin gods’ that instead of them listening to the few tourism administrators where such also exists in the first place, ignored them entirely.

They want to be worshipped and as such, they often lead the agencies or ministries they are supposed to midwife in the wrong directions.

Like the popular ‘Tiv Dance’, of one step forward and two steps backward. Be at the national and state levels, the story is same. Over time, a new lexicon has surfaced in the travel and tourism industry to (‘family, friends and fools) now runs the industry.

Whilst many have argued that this is not peculiar to the travel and tourism industry, I will argue that this sector is too crucial and has been placed in the hands of incompetent people.

Such has led to the incessant collapse of our national carrier over time, till the extent that many self imposed aviation experts went on the offensive in campaigning against a national carrier.

It’s not just shameful that a nation of 180 million people does not have one and relies on European, Middle East and even African airlines like Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South Africa Airways and even Rwanda Air for the travel needs of Nigerians.

By so doing, such act compromised Nigerian travellers dignities, convenience and their security.

The reasons for the failure of previous attempts are not far fetch though; as they can be traced to gross incompetence, mismanagement and sabotage among management and staff.

With many arguing because of the aforementioned experience or experiences, we should all throw our hands in the air in despair as that should not be the way forward and as such, we should swallow our pride and engage more qualified and experienced foreigners to midwife a befitting airline for this country.

The Gulf Nations have demonstrated that it can work, and it’s working with the likes of Qatar Airways, Emirates, Ethihad among others.

Just few years ago, ASKY, a carrier for French West African countries was established with the help of the more experienced Ethiopian Airlines and today, we are all living witness.

What is wrong with Nigeria? Like our national carrier, the few private sector experiments have also failed. Okada Air, Kabo Air and ADC Airlines are all history, while the few in existence are nothing but a disgrace to a nation of our status.

Arik Air from 26 aircrafts few years ago has less 10 today because of mismanagement, lack of capacity and the Nigeria factor, as well as Aero Air that are now under receivership.

The recent incidents around Dana Air, Med View and the rest are nothing but a clear indication why Nigeria deserves a good national carrier that should be managed by qualified people.

Another worrisome institution is the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], that the media and protocol unit lack iota of professionalism in their dealing with press inquiries from the media.

Sadly, the agency and its staff now frown at every media inquiry that demands to know what the NTDC is up to.



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