The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN], has called on the Federal Government to overhaul the process of issuing Nigeria’s visas in the country’s foreign embassies to make it easier, faster and also eliminate multiple levies.
This call was made by the FTAN’s President, Rabo Saleh Kareem recently during a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema in Abuja.
FTAN President raised the private sector concerns about national issues bedevilling Nigeria’s tourism industry, and solicited the support of the Foreign Affairs Minister to address them at crucial occasions like the Federal Executive Council [FEC] meeting.
He also called on the minister to put in place strategic image management measures that will counter the pervasive negative reports against Nigeria in the international media.
Rabo said a lot tourists desirous of visiting Nigeria are finding it difficult in securing visas Nigerian foreign missions and called on the foreign affairs minister to quickly intervene. He lamented that the number of days it take for inbound tourists to get Nigerian visa does not promote inbound tourism, saying the process is slow and replete with multiple levies. The FTAN President also reiterated the private sector’s support for issuing visa on arrival to Nigeria.
In his response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs challenged tourism businesses in Nigeria to create more visible, all inclusive tour packages to attract more inbound tourists, especially for Nigeria-bound international conference participants. He therefore called on FTAN to produce attractive brochures of cultural tourism destinations and city tour packages for distribution at embassies and international meetings.
The minister further revealed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was setting up an online merchant portal to showcase Nigerian brands and to attract foreign investors. To this end, he promised to give FTAN an opportunity to also upload unto the portal inbound Nigeria tour packages and tourism events’ calendar.
Before the meeting ended FTAN President offered to make the foreign minister a Tourism Ambassador of FTAN. Rabo said FTAN would officially write the minister and set a date to formally decorate him.