The National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), on Thursday in Abuja trained secondary school teachers on tourism development.
Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director-General of NIHOTOUR, in a speech shortly before the exercise commenced, said that participants were to be trained to guide others on return to their schools.
Kangiwa said that the theme: “Train the Trainer for Secondary School Teachers in the FCT”, was to help the teachers to accelerate the development of tourism in the schools.
He said that Tourism Curriculum had been introduced in secondary schools in Nigeria, adding that the ‘Train the Trainer” programme was geared towards encouraging teachers to develop interest in tourism.
He said that encouraging teachers to develop interest in tourism would help them to encourage students to explore opportunities available in the sub-sector toward being self-reliant.
“As teachers, you should know that tourism is a multidisciplinary, multidimensional and multifaceted industry; with the right training, anyone can make a career in it.
“There are a lot of entrepreneurial skills one can acquire in the sub-sectors of tourism such as tour guide, tour operation, travel agency operation, cabin crew and cargo handling.
“Others are parks and gardens operation, recreation centre management, event management, hospitality management, pastry and cookery, among others.
“In a world of unemployment, these skills can make you self-reliant and an employer of labour.
“The participants will agree with me that this training could not have come at a better time than now, given the renewed interest of the Federal Government to diversify the economy from the sole dependence on petroleum.
“Trainings like this offer a unique opportunity for you to appreciate the enormous resources available in our country that are waiting for us to tap and utilise,” he said.
According to him, tourism is recognised as the world’s greatest employer of labour and it is currently providing 3,316,000 jobs to the Nigerian economy.
“Hospitality and tourism’s total contribution to employment in Nigeria surpasses the world average (2,341,000), and do better than Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania Tunisia, Senegal, Gambia and Namibia in the region.
“At present, we are grappling with the problem of youth unemployment, which in some cases have resulted into youth restiveness.
“We cannot fold our hands and watch one of the dreaded monsters (unemployment) push us into the precipice.
“This service industry has the capacity to stimulate Nigeria’s economic growth, generate foreign exchange and contribute to domestic earnings through fees and taxes,” he added.
He stressed that NIHOTOUR, a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was mandated to provide skills proficiency, technical upgrading programmes and professional knowledge, based on education in the hospitality and tourism industry.
“It will interest you to know that NIHOTOUR is in all the six geopolitical zones of the country to cover effectively all sectors of the industry as well as promote professionalism in the sector.
“I will strongly recommend that both the public and private sectors avail themselves of the training programmes available in NIHOTOUR from the craft to the managerial levels,” he said.
Kangiwa reiterated his resolve and determination to work assiduously toward making NIHOTOUR a place everyone would be proud of.
The NIHOTOUR boss further said that the organisation would be repositioned to make it more responsive to the training needs of the industry so as to meet the challenges of its mandate.
Dr Kabir Momoh, Director of Planning and Consultancy Services, NIHOTOUR, in his goodwill message, commended Kangiwa for such a noble programme for tourism teachers.
He said that NIHOTOUR would extend the training to the six geographical political zone in view of its relevance to sharpening the interest of young people in tourism.
Similarly, Mr Edwin Enenta, Head of Department, Travel and Tourism Studies, NIHOTOUR, appreciated the Director-General for making the training possible.
Enenta urged the participants to be attentive and punctual in order to achieve the aim of the exercise.
Some of the participants, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that they were excited and appreciate the organisers for such initiative.
Mr Sunday Oluwakoya, a teacher at the Premiere Academy Lugbe, Abuja, commended the organisers for “such a timely and relevant training”.
Oluwakoya said that such initiative had enhanced his skill in the delivery of a course in tourism.
He appealed to the organisers to carry out more training, adding that the initiative was commendable.
Mrs Ogechukwu Njideka, a teacher at Government Secondary School, Kubwa, Abuja, said she was so excited over the training that had opened her eyes to certain things.
Njideka added that the training was an intellectual one that encouraged the trainees to do more in the tourism sector.
Mr Chibueze Ngozi, a teacher at Word of Faith Senior Secondary School, Abuja, said that he would remain grateful to the organisers for helping him to learn a lot of things that had ungraded his skills.
About 20 teachers participated in the training programme.( (NAN)
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