Nigeria Calls for Collaboration Among ECOWAS States to Develop West Africa's Tourism Sector in West Africa

Nigeria Calls for Collaboration Among ECOWAS States to Develop West Africa’s Tourism Sector in West Africa

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Nigeria’s government has called for collaboration among the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to develop the tourism potential of the subregion and place West Africa in prime position to compete with other regions.

The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Folorunsho Coker, also called for the streamlining of policies on tourism in countries in the subregion while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the meeting of experts and stakeholders of the private tourism industry on the monitoring and evaluation mechanism of ECOTOUR 19-29 and the ECOWAS Tourism Accommodation regulator in Abuja on Tuesday.

Coker said: “It’s the season to collaborate not to compete,” adding that: “It’s in the spirit of collaboration that we will grow pan-African tourism.”

He said: “I want to encourage the localisation of policies”, insisting that policies would only be successful when localised.

Coker said all the regulations in the region be streamlined into one that will guide activities in the tourism sector across the 15 ECOWAS member states, urging for the training of tourism operators in the region as well as the introduction of technology in tourism.

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He said: “We must embrace technology or it will leave us behind.”

The Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture of the ECOWAS Commission, Massandjé Toure-Liste said the meeting drew aspiration from the ECOTOUR 19-29 action plan, adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government which was designed to serve as a roadmap for promoting responsible tourism.

She said: “To this end, our technical meeting today centres around drafting the operational modalities for two critical tools: the ECOTOUR 19-29 monitoring and evaluation mechanism and the ETAR – ECOWAS Tourism Accommodation Regulator.

“The ECOTOUR 19-29 Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism will involve developing operational guidelines and appointing dedicated members or focal points to oversee its implementation.

“Simultaneously, for the ECOWAS Tourist Accommodation Regulator (ETAR) we will define the composition and operational modalities in alignment with Regulation C.REG.2/07/23.

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“Our focus on Private Sector Collaboration includes; facilitating dialogue among representatives from the private tourism sector and encouraging strategic alignment and collaboration at the regional level.

Massandjé, who was represented by the ECOWAS Commission’s Director of Private sector, Dr Anthony Elumelu, said: “Additionally, we aim to support private sector players in finalising the process of creating a regional confederation.”

The meeting is expected to end on Friday 17th May, 2024.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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