Posted by Sade Williams
The President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Nkereuwem Onung has promised to deliver a more professional association at the AGM slated for the 9th of April.
In a mail sent to members of NATOP, he said the association has been in transition for years and has grown from 15 professional Tour Operators registered by NTDC in 2011 when other Travel Associations had over 2,000 registered members to a National association that is reckoned with by Nigerians.
He said it is now a thing of envy to others with its growing profile in matters of Tourism in Nigeria.
Because of the rising profile and the quality of the Tourism experts found in NATOP , its membership is now sought after by players in the industry.
“Let me use this medium to appreciate all members of NATOP especially the present EXCO for their solidarity and steadfastness that has been exhibited in the past years. It has been a long journey. We picked up an association at a fragile stage with very few members and little visibility and have seen it grow into limelight and prominence to the extent that other associations feel threatened by it. We are thankful to Otunba Segun Runsewe D.G NCAC, then D.G NTDC who in 2011 officially registered Tour operators as professional Tourism practitioners in Nigeria.
“We have witnessed desperate efforts by some individuals who are not Tour Operators and some outside forces attempting to scuttle/ disrupt and hijack the association and crash it. Thanks to a few dedicated members of the association who stood firm, supported and funded the association up until now. I appreciate them. Let me state here that; this is the first time government will be Hosting our AGM with commitment.
“This should be commended. Plateau State Government, in an attempt to refresh and highlight “Destination Plateau”, has accepted to Host Tour Operators from 7th- 9th of April, 2018. NATOP has agreed to partner with the government to help grow another Tourism Destination in Nigeria, thereby promoting Domestic Tourism. NATOP is a National Association and as such her AGM should be rotated across the country. This will be my last AGM as President, and as such I invite all members to take advantage of the event and promote Tourism in the Plateau.”, he said in the mail
Speaking further, he said: Abuja is Nigeria’s Federal Capital and should have a strong presence of NATOP. Exco took the initiative to set up a chapter in Abuja. It is the duty of executive to propel the association and Warri/P.H and the South East are the next in line for inauguration. I want to use this medium to thank Mrs. Fatima Garbati who steered the ship of NATOP in the past and handed over to us. I believe that a new NATOP will emerge after Jos AGM where young professionals will be given opportunity to participate.”
Meanwhile the Commissioner for Tourism, Plateau has reached out to NATOP in support of the AGM.
In her message she said. “There is a need for professional Tour Operators to visit Plateau to see for themselves the rich asset we possess and that is why we seek to partner with NATOP. We as a state have been looking for partners to promote and position ourselves and we are delighted that the Professionals are coming. It is our hope that they will enjoy themselves and go home as Ambassadors of Plateau Tourism”.
The leading Tourism Association in Nigeria The Nigerian Association of Tour Operators NATOP is holding its first AGM in the Northern Part of Nigeria for the first time at Jos. The last AGM was held in Lagos and in Calabar the year before, therefore Plateau has the right as the first event outside the South of Nigeria.
The President of the Association Mr.Nkereuwem Onung said that the Association chose Jos to reinforce the fact that Plateau is safe for Tourism and NATOP needs to discover and expose new locations to Tour Professionals.
“Nigeria is blessed and Plateau is so Rich in Tourism that we should start repositioning Plateau as a way of growing Tourism in Nigeria”, the Commisioner Mrs. Tamukat Weli said in her message to NATOP President after the postponement of the AGM to the 9th of April.