Runsewe urges Tinubu to create sole ministries for tourism, culture

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By Taiye Olayemi
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has called on President Bola Tinubu to make the establishment of a sole ministry for tourism and culture a priority, for the advancement of the industries.
Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General,  NCAC, made the call during a training session organised by the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) for the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Travel Writers (ANJET), in Abuja on Friday.
Runsewe said that a stand-alone ministry for tourism and culture was needed to ensure the obvious tourism communication gap between the private and public sectors was bridged.
He noted that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, as presently constituted, was too large as tourism and culture lacked proper attention.
According to him, managing public information in a large and complex nation like Nigeria is too ennormous to combine with providing leadership in the culture sector that is very sensitive to national integration, peace and development.
“The federal government should therefore see to the possibility of creating a stand-alone Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
“This has been a recurring demand anywhere the issues of moving the tourism and culture sector is being discussed by professionals in the last couple of years.
“It is my conviction that a stand-alone Ministry of Culture and Tourism is an idea whose time has come,” he said.
Runsewe noted that to further bridge the tourism communication gap between the private and public sectors, it was sacrosanct to establish platforms for regular interactions among tourism stakeholders.
He advised practitioners in the industries to uphold the professional integrity of the tourism industry as they also engage in strategic partnerships.
He said tourism was a specialised sector that required professional skills and expertise.
“In all the countries such as Spain, France, USA and South Africa, where tourism is a serious business with huge economic returns, the sector is populated with professionals who know the global technicalities of tourism.
“They are also able to adopt that knowledge to meet the peculiar realities of their environments.
“In Nigeria, tourism business appears to be an all-comers’ affairs, if anybody who has the means can wake up overnight to set up a tourism business, how do we expect the sector to move forward?
“No matter what you communicate, as long as it is not profit maximisation, such people will never understand or flow with it.
“The public sector tourism organisations that is manned by those who do not know the technicalities of the sector has to be sensitised,” he said.
Runsewe urged tourism and travel media to constantly seek to set the agenda for the growth of Nigerian tourism by ensuring that the communication gap in the sector is reduced to the bearest minimum.
He said the media must continue to put in the front burner of national discourse, issues relating to the prevailing global best practices in tourism.
“The media should take it upon themselves to inform and mobilise all stakeholders in the industry to take the required step in adopting the right approach toward building a dynamic tourism sector for Nigeria.
“Journalists are formidable agents of social change and ANJET as agents of development communication should lead the campaign to influence public opinion that will lead to the change necessary.
”This will enhance communication and healthy institutional partnership necessary for sustainable growth,” he said. (NAN) (nannews.ng)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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