Okungbowa Iroguehi Andrew.

New telegraph Newspaper/ Editor/
Travel/ Tourism
20+years industry experience.
In a few words tell us about yourself.
I am an easy and simple person with nice and humble disposition. Married with three children – two boys and a girl. Holds a Master degree in English (Literature) from the University of Lagos, 1997/98. A practicing journalist with about 25 years experience in the industry. Started as a free lancer with Daily Times in about 1991 and then moved to the now defunct Sunday Republic Newspaper as Arts and Culture Reporter around 1992 and left in 1993 to join The Guardian Newspaper (Sunday Guardian) as a reporter in 1993 and later made travel and tourism correspondence for many years and left in 2013 as senior correspondent and then joined New Telegraph in December 2013 as pioneering staff and pioneering editor, Travel and Tourism, a position, which I hold till date. With responsibility for writing and editing the travel and tourism pages, which are published on the Saturday edition, among other editorial responsibilities. Am also a member of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and African Business Travel Association (ABTA), Institute of Tourism Professionals (ITP) among others.
What inspired your interest in the hospitality and tourism industry?
My interest started from general from my love for travelling and discovering new places and things and this grew when i started out as a journalist covering Arts and Culture and when eventually I had the opportunity to write tourism story for my newspaper, I fell in love with it and since then I have remained hooked with over two decade experience covering travel and tourism with wide experience as one as had the privilege and opportunity of travelling widely both within and outside Nigeria with my interest more in destination reportage, which has seen me carry out extensive travel within Nigeria and other parts of Africa and Europe.
What’s your vision for the hospitality & tourism industry?
 My vision is to see Nigeria hospitality and tourism industry grow into a real industry and contribute hugely to the gross domestic product of the country and provide meaningful engagements for millions of people because Nigeria has the potential of a great destination but it needs to be developed and promoted.
In what ways has your company contributed to the growth of the hospitality industry and it’s stakeholders?
One of the ways we have done that is through information dissemination and promotion. We are about the only national and local newspaper in Nigeria that devotes five to four pages weekly to reportage on travel and tourism and this is beside news stories and analysis that we carry out on a regular basis. So in terms of knowledge, education, information and publicity of Nigeria tourism, we are a reference point because we cover every aspect of the industry, including government – ministry and parastatals in charge of tourism and related subjects
What are your major challenges in your business? 
 One of the basic challenges is information gathering as it is sometimes difficult to get accurate information as in many occasions, operators in the industry, including government, don’t understand the importance of interfacing with the tourism media and providing information when needed to boost one’s presentation. Another challenge is that of fund as our tourism pages hardly bring in money to the coffers of the company due to lack of advertisement as hardly would we get the smallest of advert year on year for our tourism pages because both the public and private sector operators hardly see the need to advertise their products and services as well as activities rather they depend on free publication and this is a real challenge to keep the tourism pages going. For now, it is done as part of public and social service by the company as its contribution to the development of the industry and the country itself.
What are your thoughts on the state of the hospitality & tourism industry in Nigeria?
One – Nigeria is richly blessed with unique tourism attractions and our hospitality industry in Africa is one of the biggest because of our population. We have the market and every international brand wants to be in Nigeria because of the huge market. Second – the real problem is that of development and promotion and this stems from the poor governance in Nigeria. We have very poor policy, poor infrastructure and also lacks understanding of the economies of tourism. Until these issues are resolved Nigeria tourism may never get off the ground because it is still at its nadir and would need to be given serious attention and this can only be when we have good governance in the country that understands the interplay of tourism and national development.
How do you intend to join in the campaign of changing the game and perception of the hospitality & tourism industry in Nigeria?
I am already in the vanguard of this campaign as that is what one does on a daily and regular basis through my weekly tourism publications and engagements in the industry through the various professional bodies and industry related bodies that i belong to. And one looks forward to doing more going forward.
Words of wisdom for intending and current industry stakeholders.
It is a rich industry with huge opportunities for everyone but it takes patient to make something out of it. It is more like a long life love affair and not something that can yield quick result or quick fix. You need to be focus and committed and with passion to serve and make people happy. That is what tourism entails generally and ultimately you derive joy and fulfillment from making others happy and not necessarily from the monetary gains.
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