By: Ranti, The Tochlight Africa News

The capacity of tourism to be a huge money spinner and a key economic driver for Nigeria was underscored at the investiture of the new Vice President of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), Southwest Zone, Otunba Ayo Michael Olumoko last Thursday. The call was made by government functionaries, tourism professionals, and corporate giants, among others.

The organization which is in charge of tourism and allied occupation, Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) sets the standard, provide professional development opportunities, and gives certifications.

Present at the investiture ceremony of the premier awarding body for tourism professionals include the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Royal Father of the day, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi ably represented by Comrade Moses Olafare, Chief Dr. Michael Ade Ojo and his wife, Oba Olusefun Ifayode, Oba Alara of Ilu Alara, Ile-ife, Prince Adegboyega Abimbola, Sooko of Ilfe-Ife, Aare Gani Adams, Asiwaju Michael Cole, Mr. Ademola Ade Ojo –MD, Elizade Nigeria Ltd., Mrs. Bisi Adeyemi, President, Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Chike Amunna, Alhaji Balogun, MD/CEO, Tarzan Nigeria Ltd.,High Chief Gbenga Sunmonu, and TPL Daisi Osho who represented Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele.

Speaking on the topic, Tourism in a Hyperconnected World: The Challenges and Opportunities for the Nigerian Tourism Industry, Mr. Victor Adekunle Alonge, the 2nd Vice President of Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), shared: ‘As the world continues to integrate more than ever before, people and organizations are connecting more and in different ways than they ever have in the past. This interconnectedness promotes international trade agreements, global business activity, and telecommunication networks among others.

The activities often require travel and visitation, making globalization a precursor of tourism. Besides, tourism has emerged as an essential component of societal life, most especially in the developed world as it is increasingly relied upon to meet the recreational and leisure needs of people.

Tourism, is a strong pillar of sustainable development for both developed and emerging economies. Little wonder that tourism is a vital component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – Goal 8, reflecting its relevance in global reckoning.’
‘The impact of hyperconnectivity resonates in various sectors of the global economy, and most especially in the tourism industry, being an information dependent industry, where large volumes of information are generated and processed. For instance, in embarking on a trip, scores of data and information are often generated and exchanged – itineraries, schedules, payment information, destination, products and passenger information.
These activities are often undertaken by the tourism professionals. The impact of digital technologies on this process has been radical and profound, impacting every process, from the search of the destination, customer service, flight booking, accommodation, the experience during the trip and its completion.’

‘In Nigeria, there is the need for the tourism industry and its practitioners to champion the review and updating of outdated legislations and regulation that support employment, innovation, entrepreneurship and new business models.

More so, it is vital to create awareness and adoption of new technologies and technological trends, as there is evidently low adoption of these within the sector currently. More than ever before, there is the urgent need to improve investment in these technologies.

Tourism practitioners should be encouraged to commit funds for the procurement of digital technologies for capacity building through trainings. The ITPN is no doubt well positioned to take a lead in this regard. The Institute has a huge responsibility in promoting the awareness and actual practice of a modern tourism profession that delivers the benefits of hyperconnectivity in a hyper-connected world to tourists in Nigeria.’

In his welcome address, The President/Chairman, Governing Council of Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), Aare Abiodun Odusanwo expressed confidence in the capacity of the new Vice-President (Southwest) Ayo Olumoko. ‘He has been for many years the promoter of many historic tourism events in the country.

He is a promoter of culture and tourism. Prior to his being a member of the Institute, he has also been a member of many other professional organizations and also a Fellow of Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria.’


About the Institute, the President, Aare Odusanwo noted: ‘We have members throughout the country. What we are doing today is to appoint one of the leaders who will pilot the affairs at the subregional level.

Otunba Olumoko will be the Coordinator of our Southwest zone which has six states. He will manage and oversee the affairs of the 6 states. He will also collaborate with other zonal Vice Presidents and to liaise with them.’


Representing Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, the Director-General of CBAAC, Hon. Oluwabunmi Amao commented: ‘Let me congratulate Otunba Olumoko as the Vice President of Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) Southwest zone. By the same token, let me congratulate Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) led by Aare Abiodun Odusanwo. I have followed very closely the activities of this professional body over the years as I am pleased with the progress made by the Institute.

That we are witnessing this occasion is an eloquent testimony that the Institute has grown in leaps and bouds and I am very pleased by the development. We are also very much abreast about the efforts being made by this august tourism body to harness Nigeria’s tourism sector and I am very proud of them.’

‘As Minister of Information and Culture, I acknowledge that government alone cannot drive the tourism sector and that is why I see this Institute as a very important partner. We will continue to provide the necessary enabling environment. I wish to once again congratulate Otunba Ayo Olumoko for this feat he has attained.

This is undoubtedly a contribution to the Institute and the sector as a whole. We are very confident that this honour will spur you to making greater contribution for the Institute and Nigeria tourism sector in general.’


The Chairman of the occasion, the Founder/Chairman of Elizade Nigeria Ltd., Chief Michael Ade Ojo who said that he and Olumoko were both co-Rotarians though age has prevented him from being an active Rotarian underscored the role of tourism in national development. ‘Tourism is a very big word because it can be described as all the people in the world as prospective people to patronize you. It is a world subject growing in bounds which must be duly recognized in this country because tourism is one of the biggest money-making sources in the world.’

‘When you leave one place to the other to see as they are or they are supposed to be, it is never done free, money is involved. So we are talking about a very important subject which has not been developed in this country. I am seriously soliciting that we recognize this industry as it belongs to the rich and the poor alike because of the natural wish to discover and spend your time and money.’

Speaking directly to Otunba Olumoko, the Founder of Elizade University, Chief Ade Ojo said: ‘I am happy that somebody I have known very well is being recognized. I hope you know the enormity of the load that is being put on your head. This is because we are yet to start tourism in Nigeria. It is highly undeveloped. I am using this opportunity to say that this sector is almost as profitable as oil if not more profitable. This is a field waiting to be developed. This is a field waiting for action. We are very creative, we have many things that we can showcase.’

He advised youths to take a career path in tourism, ‘It is one of the biggest sources of employment of labour. This is because even leading people, dancing for people to admire, singing for people to admire, or taking care of travelers is involved in tourism. It is a world that is just coming to light. Don’t complain you don’t have work to do. There is work for you to do in tourism. It is for everybody whether you are educated or not. I want to open your eyes to what is waiting to be harnessed in tourism. You can begin to think of something. I hope we will recognize tourism.’

Elated about the investiture, the man of the day, Otunba Ayo Olumoko expressed: ‘Today is a dream come true in the sense that I have been looking at the opportunity of awakening all the tourism practititioners and the public institutions. We want to do a lot of trainings and capacity development for the youth. Most of the people assisting us are youths.’


‘What we want to do is drive tourism the way it ought to be. We are not going to go cap in hand to government but to collaborate with them. We are also collaborating with private organizations. This COVID-19 is a blessing for us in Nigeria because we are constrained to do something for ourselves inside. The domestic tourism of Nigeria is growing. This investiture is to tell Southwest that something is about to happen’, he concluded.

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