The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has urged the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to intensify efforts in repositioning the nation’s airports to further enhance tourists’ comfort, confidence, satisfaction and experience.
NCAC’s Director-General, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, said recently that it was important to fully and effectively support the growth of the tourism industry.
Runsewe who spoke at the FAAN Aviation Conference on Friday, on the topic “Nigerian Airports: Gateway to Developing and Managing Tourist Destinations in Nigeria”, said that a number things must be done to reposition the airports.
He said the airport was the first window of exposure for the international tourists and the experience a tourist had at the airport would have a lasting impression on his overall assessment of the country of his destination.
He, however, said that facilities at the airport must be of standard and fully operational.
He noted that there was need to ensure terminal design, construction and maintenance were in place while commending the commissioning of additional terminals in some of nation’s airports.
He said the general opinion of aviation experts was that terminals in all international airports in Nigeria should have apron spaces wide enough to accommodate widebody aircrafts like Boeing 787, Dreamliner 777, 747, Airbus A380.
“It is therefore strongly recommended that space should be a major consideration in the location, design and construction of international airport terminals. The Regulatory bodies like FAAN, NAMA, and NCAA should put in place adequate regulatory frameworks to ensure safety and security in the Nigeria air transportation system. Effective monitoring of all airlines should be regularly conducted to ensure that the aircraft are in good conditions”.
The relevant authorities must carry out checks on the aircraft before take-off and at arrival to minimise the level of risks by avoiding any technical loophole.
” This will greatly boost the confidence of air travellers and project the international image and reputation of the Nigerian Aviation sector.
” Adequate security measures should be put in place to meet up with the international best practices in the aviation sector, likewise good maintenance culture of the facilities should be imbibed,” he said.
Runsewe urged government to provide the enabling environment for private sector investment in the tourism industry.
He said this will make the industry viable enough to attract domestic and international tourists to numerous tourist destinations.
He noted that air transportation sector and tourism sector were closely inter-related, as both facilitate economic development, create wealth, employment and of great impact to the Gross Domestic Product of any nation.
He said the development of effective air transportation no doubt, would have multiplier effects on the development of the tourism sector and the economy as a whole.
“Nigeria has great potential in several tourism sectors such as ecotourism, cultural tourism, business tourism, beach tourism, conference tourism. These areas should be well developed and strengthened to attract tourists to our destinations. It is recommended that good hotels with up-to-date facilities should be built within our international airports to cater for the needs of our tourists and other visitors. It is also necessary to have constant training and retraining for all aviation workers,” he said.