Nigeria’s Visa on Arrival (VOA) policy has increased the influx of tourists as well as facilitated ease of doing business in the country.
Mr Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGIS), said on Thursday: “The VOA Policy has boosted influx of tourists into the country; people do visit the country now, because the policy has made the acquisition of visa very simple and easy.’’
Babandede made the observation in his presentation entitled “Encouraging Tourism in Nigeria: Role of Nigeria Immigration Service’’ at the fourth Nigeria Tourism Investors Forum and Exhibition (NTIFE) in Abuja.
NTIFE is an annual meeting organised by Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) to attract relevant stakeholders and chart a way forward for the tourism sector in the country.
The theme for the two-day forum and exhibition is “Infrastructure and Security: Catalysts for Sustainable Tourism Development”.
“Visitors and tourists now come into the country and get their visa within 48 hours and go to patronise hotels and get involved in other leisure activities’’.
Babandede, who was represented by an Assistant Controller General, Caroline Adepoju, said that the VOA had resolved the naughty issue of having to return to one’s country of residence before applying for visa.
He explained that businessmen, tourists and visitors could apply for the visa from any part of the world.
According to him, the VOA has facilitated ease of doing business in Nigeria, eliminated unnecessary human contact which can encourage corrupt practices and elimination of error in visa classification.
“As a leading agency responsible for migration, the importance of encouraging tourism to the Nigeria Immigration Service cannot be over emphasised.
“In other to encourage international tourism, the service has taken various measures which include contributing to national security through taking seriously issues of border patrol and security.
“Our personnel are trained in `host-manship’ to engender a friendly atmosphere for migrants, tourists and visitors and the personnel are expected to treat people with courtesy.
“The issue of multiple clearance procedures in our ports of entry has been addressed by collaboration with sister security agencies such as Port Health and Nigeria Customs.
“ Check points along our ways from International Border routes have been dismantled and our personnel have been directed to do more of border patrol because this allows for easy movement,’’ he said.
The Immigration boss also urged groups, government agencies and corporate orgainsations who invited persons from outside the country to always inform the service ahead of their arrival.
“It will assist us to provide dedicated desks to facilitate easy and effective clearance of the invited persons at our entry points,’’ he said.