President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) Act 2022 into Law.
The Act, repealed the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act, Cap. N137 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and enacted the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) Act, 2022 to develop and promote Nigeria as a travel and tourism destination.
According to him, the Act would encourage collaboration/partnership with state governments, private sector/stakeholders, government agencies and international bodies.
The Tourism Alliance would create platforms for partner stakeholders to benefit from international leveraging, tax reliefs/incentives, and national and international publicity.
The Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB) would promote Nigeria as a top tourism destination in Africa.
The Tourism Development Fund and Levy would increase funding in the tourism sector, empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), startups, and entrepreneurs to build and boost their tourism businesses.
The Act would encourage local and foreign investors to invest in tourism, improve standards in the tourism sector in line with best practices, facilitate the development of infrastructure to promote tourism; assist to develop tourism sites, and support capacity building in the sector.
According to Chief Folarin Coker, the Director General (DG) of NTDC, 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 noted 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.
He said, “The new tourism law ensures uniformity of standards for regulating Hospitality and Tourism Establishments (HTEs) 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.
Coker further stated, “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.
He added, “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, among 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 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 the ground like the Visa on arrival, whilst the 1% per room rate is in line with international best practice.
The DG said, “The new NTDA Law will 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.