Considering the importance of media in society, Segun Runsewe, director general, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has tasked the Nigerian travel and tourism media with agenda setting for the growth and development of the sector.
The NCAC director general gave the task in his presentation at a one-day training workshop for the members of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Tourism Writers (ANJET), which was facilitated by the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.
Runsewe, a former director general of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), in whose tenure the country’s tourism achieved some feats, especially huge global awareness of the country’s tourism potential, noted that the Nigerian travel media is among the best in Africa and stands in the position to influence things in ways that would boost the country’s tourism.
The former tourism boss, who is still passionate about the sector, also advocated for a centralised industry engagement platform driven by the tourism media through the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Tourism Writers (ANJET).
He explained that the platform would be a place where critical issues in the sector are examined and solutions proffered, adding that such a forum would engender effective collaboration and create a competitive edge that is desirable to build a strong cultural tourism economy.
Runsewe, who also doubles as the president of Africa Region, World Craft Council (WCC), warned travel media on unnecessary backbiting and unhealthy rivalry, which would make it derail from its responsibility of guiding or being the voice of tourism in the country.
He also charged them to strengthen their membership requirement as the tourism sector, particularly the travel media, is no longer an all-comers affair, but for professionals and people who are passionate about the sector.
While a good knowledge of the industry is part of the requirements to be a seasoned travel writer, he noted that regular training such as the one facilitated by NIHOTOUR is necessary to update and upskill the travel media on their job and trends in the industry at large.
‘‘Over time, some people set up tourism businesses just because others or their friends have done so. Tourism is not a competition; it is a business and profession that requires passion, competence and professionalism. The lack of the above has resulted in a gap in service delivery, disharmony and unprofessionalism”, he said.
He, therefore, charged the travel media to focus on developmental issues in the sector, driving strategic partnerships among stakeholders, headlining campaigns for industry change and agenda setting.
He also commended the media for standing in the gap despite the challenges in reporting the sector, and he pledged to mobilise departments and agencies of government to invest in the training and retooling of the tourism media.
He also commended Nura Kangiwa, director general, NIHOTOUR, for sustaining the annual ANJET training programme. “Nura Kangiwa is moving the tourism and hospitality vocational training intervention to the next level, and I must commend his interest in encouraging the best practice of tourism journalism without which Nigeria will not take its rightful place in the history of tourism,’’ said Runsewe.
On his part, the NIHOTOUR director general charged the travel media to use the gains from the training to boost their job, especially in promoting more of the country’s rich tourism potential to the world, starting with fellow Nigerians.