The declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic in January led to international travel restrictions, national travel bans and sub-national lockdowns, leading to massive cancellations of tourism and hospitality services, in destinations all over the world.
Consequently, the travel tourism and hospitality sectors in Nigeria have unimaginably, taken a direct hit with attendant tales of woes including corporate bankruptcies and large-scale job losses.
Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), said the International travel restrictions imposed by most countries in the wake of the first, and now second wave of COVID-19 has literally crippled the global tourism industry.
(The newly appointed Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, recently granted an exclusive interview to Justina Uzu of ThisDay Newspapers. In this no-holds-barred interview, the quintessential Director General revealed his plans to jump-start Nigeria tourism development following his appointment as the helmsman of the premier Hospitality and Tourism training Institute in Nigeria and West Africa.)
Question: Recently, we saw your efforts at sports-tourism segment of the Tourism industry especially during Argungu International Fishing Festival. Tell us about the 2020 edition (Argungu International Fishing Festival).
Answer: The 2020 Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival was epochal for many reasons, including the infusion of Polo tournament, which is sports tourism. Recall that prior to 2020, the fishing festival hadn't been held for 10 years. So, it was a Herculean task breaking the jinx to host the fishing festival and to include other tourism features. We were also able to make the fishing festival truly international by ensuring the cultural participation of five neighboring West African countries.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other unions in the tourism and hotel industry have rejected the plan by some notable hotels in the country to owe workers’ salaries under the pretext of COVID-19 pandemic. The unions said they are already engaging the managements of the hotels from their deliberate attempt to owe workers, March and April salaries.
President of the Hotel and Personal Service Senior Staff Association (HAPSSSA), Adegbe Iyeh, said some employers in the industry are taking some actions contrary to industrial relations rules, which may jeopardize industrial peace in the sector.
The Bauchi State Government recently announced the closure of Yankari Game Reserve in order to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. The State's Commissioner for Tourism, Mr. Moddibbo Abdulkadir told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Bauchi that the decision to close the Yankari Game Reserve to the public was in conformity with the to State government public health guidelines on the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic. He said that although, hand washing facilities, sanitizers, scanners and other required items were provided in the popular game reserve, the need to restrict activities in the tourist site is in the best interest of visitors and staff.
The spiraling negative impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria’s hospitality and tourism sectors led the current leadership of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) to embark on sensitization visits to tourism facilities in Nigeria. Starting with Abuja yesterday, March 19th 2020, the President of FTAN, Alhaji Saleh Rabo, led a team of the Federation’s executive members to leading hospitality outlets including Transcorp Hilton hotel, Rockview Hotels and Kapital Klub Apartments.
The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has expressed confidence that Nigeria’s health officials’ effort at containing the Corona Virus would be successful, and that the Covid-19 scare should not stop leisure and business tourists from visiting Nigeria. The Tourism Federation gave this assurance on the culmination of their Governing Council Meeting held in Abuja March 5th 2020.