Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu (2nd right) presenting DG’s welcome address flanked by Mrs. China Balogun, NMC Chairman, Mr. Dauda Yakubu, SON Head of International Standards and Dr. Mrs. Omolara Okunlola, Group Head, Food Technology, SON.

Operators in the Nigerian tourism sector have been enjoined to implement existing national standards to bring the sector at par with world class standards.

Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria,  Osita Aboloma Esq. gave the charge at the opening of a technical committee meeting for the adoption of African Organisaton for Standardization (ARSO) standards for Tourism – Sustainability and Eco-labelling ARS/AES 04:2014.
According to him, Nigeria should borrow a leaf from other African countries like Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Egypt amongst others, whose Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is mostly from tourism.
“In Africa alone about 6.9 million people are employed in the tourism sector”, he said.
He stated that the Federal Government’s economic diversification policy necessitates that Nigeria taps into the abundant potentials in the tourism sector and adopt standards that would help the growth of the industry in Nigeria.
Represented by Director,  Standards Development, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, the SON Chief Executive stated that tourism deals with the organization of the movement of people to various desired destinations and is categorised under entertainment, travels, holidays, accommodation, education,  health and adventure amongst others with great potentials for expansion.
He explained that eco-labelling – sustainability standard specifies the principles, criteria and indicators for sustainable operations in the tourism sector.
Aboloma posited that deliberations at the technical committee meeting would further expose participants to the best practices in the tourism sector and the process for the application of the Standards with a view to deciding on a course for its implementation in Nigeria.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs Chika Balogun, Chairperson, National Mirror Committee on Tourism and Related Services,  acknowledged the efforts and commitment of SON to the  standardization of the tourism sector in Nigeria.
According to her, SON has published several  standards on tourism including;
• NIS ISO 14785:2018 Tourist Information Offices-
• NIS ISO 21021:2018- Event Sustainability Management System
• NIS ISO 18513:2018- Tourism Services- Hotels and other type of Tourism Accommodation.She opined that beyond being a custodian of the standards, SON is also creating an enabling environment for stakeholders and  necessary professional support and guidance on processes leading to adoption and implementation.

“It is thus important that the NMC on tourism and related services which also serves as the Technical Committee agree at this meeting when the published standards are going to be publicly launched to promote effective implementation of all the requirements”, he said.

After thorough deliberations, the draft standards were agreed by consensus and recommended for approval to the Standards Council.

Participants at the TC meeting included, representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Oyo State Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Transcorp Hilton Hotel,  amongst a host of other stakeholders in the tourism sector.

A cross section of participants at the TC meeting.

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