Sterling Bank Plc has been honoured with the Special Recognition Award for Tourism Support at the 2021 edition of the Nigeria Tourism Awards, also known as The Balearica Awards.
The Nigeria Tourism Awards recognise and celebrate exemplary and outstanding individuals and organisations in the country’s tourism sector.
Presenting the award to the Bank, Efetobo by Awhana, CEO of the Balearica Awards, acknowledges Sterling Bank’s deliberate intervention in the tourism industry in 2020. He said that Bank’s announcement of a dedicated fund for the tourism sector was timely and similar to stimulus packages of countries like Switzerland, Japan and Mexico.
“The Balearica, named and designed after the Crowned Crane – once voted the national bird of Nigeria, has become the icon of excellence for the Nigerian tourism industry. The Special Recognition Award for Tourism Support honours the non-tourism brand that has had the most deliberate impact on the growth of tourism in Nigeria in 2020,” Awhana stated.
Last year, immediately after the COVID-19 induced lockdown was lifted, Sterling Bank pledged N10 billion as an intervention fund for the domestic tourism sector. The Bank’s CEO, Abubakar Suleiman, committed the funds while addressing players in the tourism value chain at a session organised by the Nigerian Tourism Corporation (NTDC) on reimagining tourism. Months after, the Osun State Government honoured the Bank with the Institution Award of Excellence for its role in the accelerated delivery of the Osun Sterling Tourism vision 30-30 and masterplan.
Receiving the special recognition award, Shina Atilola, Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, expressed delight that the sector immediately recognises, rewards, and celebrates the bank’s commitment to tourism development.
“At Sterling Bank, we believe the private sector should support the government’s effort to enhance the quality of life of the people, creating jobs, and a future of shared prosperity for all.
“For this reason, we are at the forefront of the private sector drive to revitalise the country’s tourism sector, which has the potential to stimulate economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability. Tourism is a powerful poverty reduction tool that presents special opportunities to all, including the poor and disadvantaged. Our intervention is stimulating innovation, entrepreneurship that will activate the potential of destinations across the country to attract local and international tourists.” Atilola said.
Nigeria’s potential for tourism is vast. It can exploit its many natural and breath-taking endowments to diversify the economy through tourism, making significant contributions to GDP. Sterling Bank is at the forefront of private-sector-led efforts to make this a reality.