By Olayinka Elebute
Chairman of the local organizing committee of National Tourism and Transport Summit (NTTS), Chief Abiodun Odusanwo has said the 2020 summit has been pushed till the third week of October this year. He said the NTTS being a key summit to discuss major issues sharping the tourism and transport sectors in Nigeria in the last three years, has become important to the sector. This informed the decision to push it to October instead of next year.
Talking of the NTTS 2020 and the challenges as a result of the pandemic, Odusanwo explained: “The NTTS started as a response to partner the government in its quest to diversify the Nigerian economy through a vibrant transportation and tourism sector. We are aware what our national sojourn has been with oil and gas, which made us a mono economy.
“The government of the day through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) had proposed some beautiful steps on how we can leverage Agriculture, Tourism, Entertainment, local production, improved services etc. This was to start growing a non-oil and gas dependent economy.
“It was on that strength that the first and second edition of the National Tourism Transportation Summit & Expo (NTTS) was hosted in Abuja-FCT. The third edition which was planned to be a mega edition in April 2020 was affected by COVID-19 pandemic. You may also be aware that the April date for the NTTS has been fixed into the global tourism calendar as an annual international event.
Odusanwo said also that the reality of Nigeria being host for the launching of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement Area (AfCFTA), which has also been pushed forward, has equally made holding the summit important. He said: “There was need for us to hold on until now instead of outright postponement of our Summit to 2021. This is also part of why we are here; AfCFTA is another opening for us to sell the ingenuity of the Nigerian people among our peers in Africa. From the export and import routes (airports, seaports, National Freight Offices in our border towns), to the hotels/restaurants, courier companies, the haulages and taxi drivers, to our security agencies, insurance services, banking, healthcare, Industry, trade and investment, formal and Informal sectors of the economy are all needed for us to drive our tourism potentials to its pride of place.
“We are working towards official inauguration of the committee as we observe further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. After the inauguration we shall create the nexus of the inter connectivity of our mandates in this assignment.”