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Improved aviation security, safety will drive tourism growth in Nigeria – Stakeholders

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Abiola Seun

Stakeholders in the nation’s aviation sector have called on the federal government for improved strategies that would make safety and security thrive at the airports saying, safety and security will grow the tourism industry and impact on the economy of the nation.

Speaking at the 2nd annual memorial lecture on late Job Onyeukwu-Onyenso, titled, ‘Safety and Security in African Tourism – Threats, Risks and Opportunities’, the Managing Director, Pathfinders International Limited, Mrs Nkechi Onyenso, said aviation plays a critical role in achievement of growth and sustainable development of any nation’s economy.

According to her, safety and security at the nation’s airports will grow the tourism industry and impact on the economy of the nation.

She said the very oil that lubricate aviation is security, because where the passengers do not feel safe to travel by air, they will look for other means of transportation.

“A situation where the passengers not only feel safe but are safe, they will travel by air for businesses, trade and tourism and so aviation can therefore be said to be an enabler of tourism.”

Onyenso who further quoted the 2018 annual report of International Air Transport Association (IATA), showed that the activities of Nigeria’s aviation sector contributed immensely to job creation in the country.

This also shows that aviation stakeholders such as airlines, airport operators, airport on-site enterprises, aircraft manufacturers, and air navigation service providers employed about 20,000 people in Nigeria’s labour market.

It was also projected that the air transport business in Nigeria would grow by 174 per cent in 20-year passenger forecast.

This, she said, would result in an additional 9.4 billion passenger journeys by 2037 and if these estimates are met, the increased demand would support approximately 4.7 billion dollars of GDP and create almost 555,700 jobs for the local economy.

“It is, therefore, necessary for all stakeholders in aviation to unite and agree on the practical strategies in ensuring the safety and security of our airports to encourage air travel for business and pleasure,” she said.

The Keynote Speaker, Director of Aviation Security, Liberia Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Nuah Padmore, said that the aviation sector can not be divorce from the tourism industry.

He said: tourists would naturally gravitate towards areas that are generally considered safe and secure.

According to him, the benefits of tourism include growth and boost in economic activities, country’s improved brand image and source of foreign exchange and a boost in wide-scale industry revenues and source of employment generation.

Padmore believes that some break in the past aviation security incidents had led to changes in the aviation sector, causing some tourists to lose faith in the security system.

“There will always be threats and risks in this business, but through effective risk management strategies and proper planning, the sector will mitigate these challenges and turn them to opportunities,” he said.

Also speaking is the Regional Manager, Qatar Airways, Percival Uweche, There is opportunities tied to tourism.

“For instance, Calabar and many other states in the country are sitting on goldmine but they are not doing anything about it, but focusing on oil revenue.
” In 2019, Ghana made millions of dollars in tourism. Benin Republic generate over 240.86 million in tourism in 2019. Egypt occupies number one in Africa tourist destination and no data from Nigeria.
“Government must generate the will that he wants the tourism industry to work, succeed in the country because a lot of people pay lip service to this things.
“Some individual start pushing loving Lagos, Lagos state is doing it’s part too in growing tourism, however, they need to do more.
you encourage the influx of people, the number add up at the end of the day. It trickle down to even the villages such as the local portrait, bead makers.
Founder, Akwaaba Afican Travel Markets, Mr Ikechi Uko, wants the government to do more in mitigating the security and safety challenges in the country to encourage tourists.
“Tourism will grow once you apply the right tools. The challenges will always be there because we have realised that that is not disincentive for people not traveling.
“For instance, Middle East has more violence than anywhere else in the world but they attract more tourists than countries without violence because they do a lot of marketing, they do a lot of promotion, and the mitigation tools they put in place.
“So government must support it because they make the policy.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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