The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has appealed to the House of Representatives to adopt the amended Tourism Bill to enable it to achieve its mandate in line with global tourism practice.
The Director General, NTDC, Mr Folurunsho Coker, who made the appeal during an interview in Abuja on Thursday, said that the adoption of a new tourism law became necessary in view of the fact that the existing law governing the corporation was more than 40 years old.
Coker added that the amended law would promote the tourism value chain and help to diversify the country’s economy.
“I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to the House of Reps to please concur with the senate so that we can move the whole country forward.
“Its an industry that is in the whole country, it is not in one state alone. And this law allows us to start to develop alternative economy that the whole legislature, executive, judiciary and everybody talks about.’’
According to him, the International Tourism Report 2017 of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that 1,323 million persons embarked on tourism internationally, generating more than US $ 1,225 billion in the process, in which only US $ 33 was generated in Africa.
“The best practice legal framework allows you to do the business of tourism and it is in doing the business of tourism that we can hope to realise the values that are spinning around globally that we are currently not partaking in.’’
The NTDC boss, therefore, stressed the importance of amending the bill, which he said would also improve the ranking of hotels in line with global practice, travel chain, and for trip advisors.
“It allows government to collaborate with operators in the private sector, it allows joint ventures, it allows us to register aggregate information about the numbers, types of hotels and rank them.’’
He further explained that the amended law would enable the corporation to access more funds generated from tourism expenditure and reinvest it to improve the country’s revenue base.
“It gives us a legal framework that allows us to for example access taxes that have already been collected.
“They have been collected for quite a while, but they don’t accrue to tourism and they are collected in the name of tourism from the revenue generated from tourism expenditure, but those taxes do not
accrue to tourism for reinvestment.
“So this law channels that, they are not new taxes, its existing taxes that are now by law been channeled directly in for reinvestment into the tourism sector.
“But most important thing is that we are a nation of federating state. This new tourism law is not a law that focuses on enforcement, it focuses on collaboration.’’
Coker reiterated the commitment of the corporation to achieving its mandate of generating revenue, creating both employment and the environment conducive for investors to tap from the abundant potentials in the sector. (NAN)