By Victor Okoye
Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) says plans have been concluded to host a conference of traditional rulers aimed at fostering unity in the country as well as promoting tourism for sustainable development.
Mr Nura Sani Kangiwa the newly-elected Vice President North West of FTAN, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
Kangiwa was elected vice president during the FTAN AGM/Elections under the auspices of Society of Tourism Experts and Professionals on June 29 in Abuja.
He said that the conference, tagged: “Peace Through Tourism”, was expected to facilitate tourism initiatives, which would contribute to sustainable tourism development of the country.
“We are going to in the next quarter choose one of the northwestern states to host a conference of traditional rulers for peace through tourism.
“The conference will among other things discuss the role of traditional rulers in the promotion of sustainable tourism development in Nigeria,” he said.
Kangiwa said that Royal Fathers were the custodians of tourism assets in any community and the role of “our traditional institutions cannot be over-emphasised.’’
He said that the preservation of cultural heritage through the initiative would help to bring about peace in the country through their various communities.
“The conference is based on a vision that tourism is the world largest industry, and our traditional ruler can through their efforts become true Ambassadors for Peace,’’ he said.
Kangiwa said that the association was also planning to partner with Argungu Emirate Council and the Kebbi State Government to revive the Argungu International Fishing and Cultural festival.
He said that FTAN looking was at working with the Argungu fishing festival to revive the event he described as “second to none in Africa’’.
“Argungu festival releases a riot of multilayered cultural events that glitter in their gushing profusion and astonished the world in both authenticity and variety of content, this no doubt gave Kebbi State honour, dignity and pride.
“We will therefore work more closely together and make an effort to exchange regular and truthful information that will help to ensure sustainable growth of the Argungu Fishing Festival.
“In line with the mission of the current administration’s call to diversify the economy and lessen the dependence on oil, this tourism product will be revamped so that collectively we can satisfy the yearnings of the people,” Kangiwa said.
Kangiwa, who also holds the traditional title of “Turakin Kebbi” noted that the festival was already a tourism product “that is acclaimed worldwide’’.
“No doubt UNESCO inscribed it in its prestigious list of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity.
“A study from the World Bank reveals that 80 per cent of international tourists visit destinations on the world heritage list and it is clear that tourism thrives on transparent, honest and effective communication,” he said.
FTAN is the apex body of all tourism associations in Nigeria.
It represents interest of all private sector tourism associations and interacts with government on behalf of all private sector tourism and control for private sector travel and hospitality associations in the country.
FTAN also represents the private sector interest in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality sectors of the national economy with a view to harnessing the abundant tourism resources in the country.