The theme of the AGM was: “Research and Advocacy for sustainable Tourism Development”.
Gekpe explained that the research grants would bring about substainable tourism methodologies, impacts of analysis, good practices and financing pilot schemes.
She said that such would help to advance good practice and establish systems for the ongoing evaluation and monitoring.
According to her, research and advocacy are key tools for sustainable tourism development, which comprised creative work. The permanent secretary added that the creative work would undertake a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge covering all areas of human endeavour and its application to design and derive new applications.
He said: “The tourism research recommendations and advocacy when fully implemented will bring about tourism development". FTAN as the umbrella body of tourism association and practitioners has a critical role in the establishment of sustainable tourism development in Nigeria.
“The future well being of humanity and the planet depends on the effective coordination and balance between economic, socio-cultural activities and environmental protection to assure sustainability.”
She urged FTAN to endeavour to participate actively in international and regional initiatives and organise events that would promote the integration of sustainable growth and development of the sector.
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General of National Orientation Agency, represented by a Deputy Director, Therasa Maduekwe, in his goodwill message, said tourism has became an eye catching industry all over the world because of the significant roles it plays.
The NOA boss noted that tourism had helped in stimulating, consumption, promoting trade and enhancing international communication. He said: “Tourism has become a major game changer for economics all around the world; popular industrialists and investors worldwide are interested in putting their money for long term investment.
“The need for continued advancement both in the quality and innovation of tourism research cannot be overemphasised due to the industry‘s importance and growth.
“Tourism can only give its full contribution to Nigeria’s economy and social well-being if government is awake to the potential of tourism possesses. “In the quest for sustainable tourism development, NOA will continue to advocate on behalf of the tourism sector the need for policies that deals with the growth and that will be based on solid research.”