Mbanefo Tasks State Govs On Tourism Development

MbanefoSets Agenda For Sector Growth

For Nigeria to benefit maximally from the tourism, state governors must go beyond paying lips services to the development of the sector, the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo has said.

Mbanefo who spoke in Abuja recently argued that the task of promoting the nation’s tourism sector would be made easier and profitable if the products and sites within respective states were developed in line with global standard.

She said: “Every state is rich in tourism; all I am soliciting from governors is to help develop tourism products within their respective states”.

The DG said the NTDC is poised towards awareness creation in spite of paucity of fund but states have roles to play in ensuring that numerous existing sites and destinations were developed.

She, however, emphasised that few states including Lagos and Osun have exhibited commitment to tourism development.

“Some governors have done so well in this regard. States such as Lagos and Osun State, which have been declared a tourism zone, are making every effort to project their tourism products but there are states that need encouragement such as Kogi and Kwara.

“These states have a lot to offer but they are not projecting the states tourism assets. I have not relented in my commitment to visiting states to plead with the governors on the need to improve their sites through access roads and facilities. Driving tourism in Nigeria is a collaboration among the three tiers of government,” Mbanefo stated.

On her part, the D.G unfolded some of the programmes designed to promote the nation’s tourism assets in the current year. One of such programmes, Mbanefo stated, was the plan to have a video clip showcasing all the sites, especially developed ones across the country, in every international flight coming into Nigeria.

According to her, every air craft landing in the country would be obliged to play it before landing to acquaint visitors with numerous destinations in the country.

Other laudable projects for implementation this year include Tourism Television Game Show, Green City Project, training of tour guides as well as implementation of numerous agreements entered with neighbouring African nations on expanding tourism borders.

We have come up with projects awaiting execution, some of them through public, private partnership. One of such projects is Tourism TV Game Show, which is designed, not only to educate the younger generations but also to create revenue for both the government and the people.

“This project about quiz on tourism is very educative. It creates revenue for the country, educates people on tourism and also rewards people who will win holidays to tourism sites around the country. We want to partner telecom companies on this project because the game begins with telephone quiz”.

Meanwhile, the Green City Project is also expected to take off this year.  “It is about converting garbage into bio-fuel and bio-diesel while tourism facilities are provided around the site for pleasures”.

The D.G however expressed concern that for some of the laudable projects, there is a need to amend some of the laws guiding tourism operation in the country.

The fact that until present, laws regulating tourism is on the residual list, which allows the three tiers of government to legislate on it, poses serious challenge to NTDC.

“That was the reason we lost the case against Lagos State. We should be on concurrent list for serious attention to be given to tourism”, the D.G noted.

The D.G also hinted that capacity building for staff would form part of her agenda for 2016. She added that effective implementation of tourism master plan required trained and well equipped personnel.

“That was our reasons for engaging in Memoranda of Understanding with several agencies and countries. The Gambia trained some of our staffers three years ago and we are still searching for such collaborations.

“But between then and now, we have been able to unveil three strategic imperatives, which aimed at rebuilding the NTDC through capacity building programmes for staffers. Irrespective of poor funding last year, about 240 members of staff were trained through collaborations with the Centre for Ethics and Values”.



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