Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), on Tuesday honored pioneer members at its 20years anniversary.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 21 pioneer members of the association were given honorary/ recognition awards at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos.
Mr Rabo Saleh, President, FTAN said that today marks another milestone in the history of the association which started about 20years ago.
He said that the association which have 10 members associations under its before but today as about 22 different registered professional associations.
Saleh said that the idea behind this celebration was to appreciate and honor men and women of proven integrity who have laboured so hard for the betterment of the industry.
“Today, I can proudly say that the fruit and labour of these distinguish people has not been in vein. That is why we are celebrating them today.
” For those that are not here today with us, because they have answered the call to the lord, We are also remembering them by giving them posthumous award.
“We also assure their family members that we appreciate their contributions, ” he said.
According to him, the gathering constitutes of founding fathers of FTAN, government representatives, present council members, FTAN members and investors in the tourism sector.
He said that similar umbrella bodies like FTAN in other tourism inclined nations are the drivers of tourism sector of their economy.
He added that, here in Nigeria, reverse was the case. The private sectors who are the drivers are not fully engaged when taking key decisions affecting the industry.
Saleh, therefore, call on the present government to give tourism all the needed attention required by creating enabling environment for tourism to thrive.
One of the awardee, Mr Ikechi Uko, Organiser, Akwaaba African Travel Market Exhibition, said that it was his pleasure to received honorary award with those who he met in the industry.
“When i start tourism newly, the likes of Mr Masud Mani-Tukur, Dr Franklin Adejuwon, Mr Mike Amachree and some others veterans tourism stakeholders were the people i meet in the industry.
” But, today am being honor with them, It indeed a great pleasure for me. It means that one should be focus in what he or she knows how to do best. Someday you shall be recognise, ” he said.
According to him, he said he has been honored in different countries but he appreciated this recognition/award most importantly.
He said that the starting was challenging but now we are happy we are still surviving in the industry.
Also, Mr Ganiyu Balogun, President, Association of Tourists, Boats Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATN), said that he has suffered a lot in the industry but I survived it when I did not relent.
“When is difficult, I endure. When the money comes, I feel relief but today I am happy to be recognise because of my endurance, perseverance and contributions to the development of the industry.
“I am the first Vice President of the association, I am one of the pioneer members and today all my efforts and contributions are in vein but recognise, ” he said.
Balogun appealed to the government to improve on the security of lives and properties on the waterways and also provide necessary tourism infrastructure.
Mrs Margret Fabiyi, President, Webisco International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs and Tourism of Nigeria, expressed her pleasure and satisfaction on the award given to her.
She said that she has been a member of the association since inception and have been since then promoting the industry.
She appealed to the organisers of the event to make it a periodic event that would serve as an avenue to bring all all the tourism stakeholders together to brainstorm on the development of the industry.