NATOP to produce competent operators in Nigeria’s tourism industry

Posted on: March 12, 2023, by :

The President of Nige ria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Mrs. Ime Udoh has said her association is working towards providing the country’s tourism industry with competent and knowledgeable professionals. This, she said informed NATOP’s current partnership with National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).
Mrs. Udoh said this in a chat with Africa Travel Herald during a one day NATOP/NIHOTOUR training workshop for tour operators in Lagos.
She said it is only tour operators that are well trained and knowledgeable in world best practices that can carry out their jobs effectively.
Her words: “For NATOP, as an association, it is important that we train. You know that tourism is evolving. We understand Nigeria itself is a destination, so to bring up ourselves to the standard where we are able to compete favourably with our counterparts all over the world, we must be trained.
“ We must have knowledge and information on international best practice and what are the current trends in tourism. This information is what we get through this training.
“We find out that many tour operators come in the business out of passion and start doing their business without the foundational knowledge to turn this passion into a business. So, we are at point that where we realise that we must take the business of tour operation seriously. We must properly position ourselves. We know that here in Nigeria, there is going to be a change of government.”
On the her hope for the new administration in the country, she said: “ We are so hopeful that tourism will be in the front burner in the new administration. So,as tour operators, we must position ourselves to be able to run with this. We can’t talk about tourism without the tour operators. So, we must position ourselves with every tool and every information necessary so that we are able to run favourably and market a destination.
“More importantly, we prepare ourselves as practitioners in the industry with well informed knowledge and decisions that will help us in our business which is the business. So, this training is very important. Our partnership with NIHOTOUR is important. This the first in many series of training. You could see that the tour operators are excited about the training. More importantly because this training has come to us from NIHOTOUR almost free of charge. This is a training that do cause a lot more out there. A tour operators may not be able to afford the training. they are more or less profesional trainings. So, this partnership with NIHOTOUR offers us that opportunity to get trained, get informed at a very minimum price.”
Also speaking on the training, the Lagos State Zonal Coordinator of NIHOTOUR, Chinyere Ibeabuchi said: “ We are trying to connect with the professionals in the industry. Ours is training; you know there has been a lot of complaints about the quality of knowledge of practitioners in the industry. We feel that since we are there to professionalise the sector and improve the manpower, why not partner with them? let them know that we are not alien, that it is something that they can assess. That is why we have all these trainings, so that at the end of the day, the inudstry will be sanitised. let the people that are supposed to do these packages, let them be the ones doing the packages.
It is not only NATOP, we have other professional bodies that we are partnering with. So,ours is just to professionalise the sector, give them adequate training that they need, what will help them to work very well in the industry.”

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