Africa: Confusion in Nigerian Tourism as Travel Agents launch Controversial ID card.

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A hint of what lay in store for National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents NANTA was evident at The Landmark Centre venue of the launch of the NTPIC.

Most Tourism association Presidents avoided the event and no Nigerian Government Parastatal head was present. It was Supposed to be the launch of Nigerian Travel Practitioners Identification Card but the Tourism family stayed away.

And immediately after the launch all hell broke loose as it were. All Tourism WhatsApp groups came alive. Questions, Questions and more questions.’ Is it true NANTA has issued ID Card for all Practitioners in Nigeria’?

Not long after Travel bloggers released stories of a legal action against NANTA.
Below is one of the post carried by NigerianFranknews “Nigerian Travelers ID: Tourism Practitioner Asks NANTA To Reverse Decision

Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos

A tourism practitioner has asked the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), to desist from its decision to start issuing the Nigeria Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC) for practitioners of travel and tourism business in Nigeria on the ground that the action is illegal.

The practitioner, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, in a letter written by his solicitors, Oluyinka Olujimi and Co, had stated that NANTA during the public presentation of the Nigeria Travel Practitioners Identification Card

(NTPIC) on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, had claimed that its action was in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
According to him, the operation of a so-called identity card scheme for practitioners of travel and tourism business in Nigeria is not one of the statutory or allied functions of the NCAA.

The practitioner through the letter is asking that NANTA desists forthwith, with the issuance of the so-called Nigeria Travel Practitioners
Identification Card to the public and also within seven days of the delivery of his letter, publish in three national newspapers, a public notice announcing the withdrawal of the so-called Nigeria Travel.

Practitioners Identification Cards.
The letter signed by Oluyinka Olujimi, the Principal Partner of the firm and was addressed to Mr Bernard Bankole, the President of NANTA, stated that if the body neglects or refuses to meet the demands stated in the letter within the stipulated period, they will enforce his right and those of other Nigerians as instructed by their client.

The letter stated in part that, “by nomenclature and body language, your organisation falsely presented the scheme to the public as an official travelers’ document for all travel and tourism practitioners in Nigeria.

That the action of your association is ultra vires as the laws of the country do not permit any private organisation to hold itself out to the public as an arm of the Government of the Federation or Ministry or Department or that it enjoys exclusive patronage of same.
“That by your action, NANTA purports to have the right to issue on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a privately-designed identity card scheme for practitioners of travel and tourism in the country and that the card that you purported to have launched is against national security.

“That the scheme as launched by your organisation has set confusion into Nigeria because the citizens will no longer know the appropriate travel documents to take along when travelling out of Nigeria,” the letter stated.

The travel practitioner added that as a Tourism Journalist and Practitioner who is not a member of the organisation, his fundamental rights are being flagrantly infringed upon by the action of NANTA and the action of NANTA is an egregious breach of Nigerian laws, an invitation to chaos in the travel industry and a crime against the Federal
Republic of Nigeria.”

Not long after this the President of NANTA Mr. Bankole Bernard wrote his response on some WhatsApp groups that the card is only for Travel Agents and not for all Practitioners but most commentators insisted his late clarification does not allay the fears of Over reach by his association pretending to be the Umbrella organisation for Travel and Tourism in Nigeria.

Since the Supreme court judgement of 2012 stripping the Federal government of the duties of Tourism regulations in Nigeria there has been a scramble by many groups to corner authority in the industry using many devices.

First NIHOTOUR the Parastatal for training sent a bill to the National Assembly purporting to regulate and licence Practitioners in Nigeria. The public hearing was well attended and the bill was resisted. The National Assembly eventually passed the Bill. Then NTDC the Federal Agency in Charge of Tourism also sent a bill to the Assembly with powers to run the Business of Tourism and Travel in Nigeria. Practitioners also resisted the bill but it was eventually passed. A private organisation the Institute of Tourism Practitioners ITP also sent a bill to the National Assembly also with powers to licence and Charter Practitioners in Nigeria. The Federation of Tourism Associations in Nigeria FTAN is currently resisting ITP and its bill.

Other Tourism Associations have also decided to scramble for space before they are eliminated by the more aggressive and ambitious groups.

Recently an attempt to hijack the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators NATOP by some ‘Tourism Agitators’ was supported by some of these ambitious Gladiators as a way to consolidate power and exact a stranglehold on the industry positioning themselves for future appointments and positions.

Some of these ambitious Gladiators are sponsoring splinter hotel, media and Hotel Associations to further their aim.

At the Accra Weizo event in Ghana some Tourism Journalists lamented that Politicians have taken over the industry and new Tourism in Nigeria is more about association Politics than Tourism itself. Charlatans with no track record in Tourism are muddying the waters and messing up the environment.

It is hoped that with the return of Otunba Segun Runsewe the former Tourism head who is now the President of the World Craft Council in Africa and DG NCAC some level of sanity may prevail considering his wide connections across the different Associations. He is expected to work with Chief Mike Amachree the Father of Tourism in Nigeria.

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