By Jimoh Babatunde
The Director_General ofÂ the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) , Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has expressed happiness that its current tourism investment drive is already attracting investors to the country.
He disclosed thisÂ while receiving in audience representatives of Inter continental Hotel Group from Europe who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at Tourism Village, Abuja recently.
In the words of Otunba Runsewe; â€œtoday is another milestone for this country.â€ He stressed that within one week, the NTDC had played host to about seven investors.
He described Inter Continental Hotel Group as one of the four biggest hotel groups in the world. The NTDC boss assured his guests that the corporation would give them all the necessary support needed to fast track their tourism investments in Nigeria.
The NTDC helmsman was glad to hear that the group was already building a 360_room hotel at Ikoyi, Lagos. Consequently, the NTDC DG intimated them that the corporation was planning to have chains of hotels in the six geo_political zones in Nigeria, and these would serve as a pilot programme, because more of such hotels would follow suit.
To this end, he stated: â€œNigeria is very prepared for tourism development. We have put a lot of structures and facilities in place.â€ Otunba Runsewe affirmed that because of the level the corporation is taking the tourism investment drive, the country is now being appreciated in terms of tourism. He cited as an example, the recent successful outing of the corporation at the Arabian travel fair where Nigeria received more visitors in her stand than any other African country that participated, despite the fact that it was her debut.
He further explained that it was because of these positive developments recorded in the sector that Nigeria recently got the first ever endorsement in South Africa to set up a golf tourism estate.
He added that no country in the world could develop in tourism without the right contacts, hence the present leadership of NTDC would leave no stone unturned to take Nigeria tourism to the next level.
Meanwhile, the NTDCâ€™s boss has revealed that the corporation would soon launch the newly introduced Tourism Cash Card in London . He madeÂ this revelationÂ recently in London, while briefing stakeholders on the newly_introduced Tourism Cash Card.
The NTDC boss stated that the newly introduced product would help in reducing the risk of carrying cash by tourists in the country while touring destinations that have the collaborative effort of interswitch, Ashosh UK, Skye bank and NTDC. According to the Director General â€œtourism is getting standardized and visitors to Nigeria will experience, aside from cultural attractions, some of the best practices in the world of travel and tourismâ€.
With this new development, UK tour operators and travel agents are now happy to do business in Nigeria. In the words of Johnny Rowley of Travel Centre UK, â€œthis is a good time to launch this new product to attract experienced tourists to developing nations, as travellers are looking for a new and cheaper alternative as a result of the global meltdownâ€.
Tourism Cash Card enables tourists to spend money in the local currency of the country they are visiting. The Director_General, NTDC affirmed that the cards were accessible to all the Automated Transaction Machines (ATM) in the country.
The NTDCâ€™s latest product in addition, is helping the Nigerian Governmentâ€™s seven point agenda aimed at repositioning tourism as an alternative revenue_earning sector since oil revenue is on the decline due to global financial crises.