Committee Inaugurated to Elevate Accommodation Standards in Nigeria

In a significant step towards bolstering Nigeria’s tourism sector, the Multi-Disciplinary Committee on Classification and Grading of Tourist Accommodation Establishments was officially inaugurated on March 21st, 2024. Chaired by Honourable Minister of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, the committee comprises esteemed members from various sectors including tourism, health, and hospitality.

The inauguration ceremony, which took place in Abuja, marked the commencement of concerted efforts to enhance the quality and competitiveness of accommodation facilities across ECOWAS destinations. The initiative aligns with the ECOWAS Tourism Policy and ECOTOUR 19-29 Action Plan, aimed at standardizing regulations and criteria to elevate the tourism industry in the region.

During the event, a keynote address delivered by the Honourable Minister emphasized the pivotal role of tourism in driving economic growth and job creation. Highlighting Nigeria’s diverse attractions, ranging from natural wonders to cultural heritage sites, the Minister expressed optimism for the committee’s ability to establish internationally acceptable standards.

Ms. Stella Christiane DRABO, representing the ECOWAS Private Sector Directorate, delivered a comprehensive speech outlining the necessity and objectives of the committee’s mandate. Citing the ECOTOUR 19-29 Action Plan, she stressed the need to increase the competitiveness of ECOWAS destinations to attract international tourists and generate revenue.

Key points discussed included the shortcomings of existing classification standards, such as limited categories and a lack of monitoring mechanisms. Proposals for mandatory grading and classification, establishment of a regional monitoring mechanism, and digitalization of the classification process were put forward to address these deficiencies.

In attendance were representatives from the hotel industry, including the President of the Nigeria Hotel Association, who pledged their support towards ensuring compliance with the new standards. It was agreed that progress updates would be provided to the ECOWAS Free Trade Area (EFTA), underscoring the commitment to transparency and accountability.

Looking ahead, the committee’s focus will include drafting detailed modalities for the implementation of regulations, with upcoming meetings scheduled for April in Abuja. These efforts aim to not only enhance the quality and homogeneity of tourist accommodations but also foster trust, competitiveness, and attractiveness across ECOWAS destinations.

The inauguration of the Multi-Disciplinary Committee signifies a significant milestone in Nigeria’s journey towards becoming a premier tourism destination in the region. With collaborative efforts and adherence to international standards, the nation is poised to unlock its full tourism potential, offering visitors unforgettable experiences while contributing to sustainable economic development.

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