President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority Act, 2022 into law.
The Act he explained, repealed the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act, Cap. N137 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and enacted the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority Act, 2022 to develop and promote Nigeria as a travel and tourism destination.
The act will Encourage Collaboration/ Partnership with state governments, private sector/stakeholders, government agencies and international bodies.
The Authority will jointly regulate the industry with the State Governments.
The Tourism Alliance will create platforms for partner Stakeholders to benefit from international leveraging, tax reliefs/ incentives, national and international publicity.
The Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will promote Nigeria as a top tourism destination in Africa.
The Tourism Development Fund and Levy will increase funding in the tourism Sector, empower SME’s, Startups and Entrepreneurs to build and boost their tourism businesses.
It will also facilitate the development of infrastructure to promote tourism. d. Will assist to develop tourism sites. e. Will support capacity building in the sector.
The act will also encourage local and Foreign Investors to invest in tourism, and improve Standards in the Tourism sector in line with best practices.
According to the Director General of NTDC, Chief Folarin Coker, in line with international best practices, every tourism reliant country in the world regulates the industry via a national body of which NTDA is the Nigerian version.
Coker stressed that the tourism industry is the greatest employer of labour and can be leveraged on as a low hanging fruit to diversify and grow the nation’s economy.
“The new tourism law ensures uniformity of standards for regulating Hospitality and Tourism Establishments across the Federation.
“Nigeria cannot afford to have 36 different standards for regulating HTEs in the country, wherein a 5-star hotel in one state is different from another 5-star hotel in a different state.
“The significance of the Supreme Court judgment (SC. 462/2010) on tourism cannot be over-emphasised, however in attempting to align with it, the new law is more focused on collaborative and partnership efforts with the private sector and States.
“This means that all states can have their own tourism laws assented to by their Governors, irrespective of the new NTDA law.
“The new law provides for a Tourism Partnership Alliance, where only willing stakeholders under the alliance can be regulated as well as benefit from the various federal advantages, which the alliance has to offer,” he said.
He emphasised that the tour operating company, under the law, only serves as a benchmark to private companies and stakeholders and not as a competitor.
“The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) only relates with the Ministry not Information and Culture and more practically NTDC on issues of tourism viz accreditation of tourism bodies and stakeholders, financial benefits, waivers and standardization amongst others. They do not deal with states or private stakeholders directly and this has caused the country to lose a lot of benefits and incentives from the body.
“The new law has expunged the clause on levying of 1% income on corporate bodies or any other body. Also, the issue of double taxation has been further minimised wherein levies on the TDL are levies already on ground like the Visa on arrival, whilst the 1% per room rate is line with international best practice.
“The new NTDA law will ensure significantly promote and develop tourism in the country, it will create collaborative synergy on tourism across all tiers of Government and other private sector stakeholders.
“It will create entrepreneurship and jobs, especially for youth and women, while it will also greatly improve the economy and reduce crime and insecurity,” he said.