By Jimoh Babatunde
The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba over celebrate our Olusegun Runsewe has assured prospective foreign investors of the security and safety of their investments in Nigeria describing the country as one of the safest in the world.
Speaking during his courtesy visit to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Abuja, Otunba RunseweÂ said there is no country that is crime free noting that we over celebrate our own problems while others play down their own.
He described the too much reliance on oil warning that one day oil would dry up adding that Nigeria should learn from United Arab Emirate which has diversified its economy by investing in tourism.
While soliciting the FRCN support in carrying the massage of tourism to NigeriansÂ Otunba Runsewe thanked the organization for its coverage of NTDC activities.
Responding the Chairman of the Corporation Mr Dekeme Boyalefa said the collaboration between NTDC and FRCN was long over due stressing that the visit by NTDC boss would awaken other government institutions to collaborate with each other to realize the seven point agenda of Mr President Umar Yaâ€™radua.
Mr Bpyyalefa promised the rediness of FRCN to help broadcast Nigeria tourism to international audience in order to increase tourists traffic adding â€˜Nigeria tourist sites are enormous and among the best in the worldâ€.
The Director General of FRCN Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu described the DG NTDC as a hard worker and focus person and therefore should be supported.
Alhaji Nuhu said the FRCN had started a programme called This Land Nigeria because of the importance of tourism to the economy.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) have entered into partnership for an aggressive foreign investment tourism in Nigeria.
Speaking while on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe told the NIPC boss that NTDC could not do it alone stressing that the expertise and the technicality of wooing investors were domiciled with the Commission.
â€œWe cannot do it alone, our coming is a form of partnershipâ€ he said.
Quoting a 1982 statement by Elder Statesman â€“ Alhaji Maitama Sule, Otunba Runsewe said, Nigeria must not continue to rely on oil as the major source of revenue for the country rather, he said tourism was a more sustaining option for wealth creation and youth unemployment.
He alerted the Commission of the existence of unscrupulous people in Europe whose major specialty is to defraud states governments of phoney tourism investment with these syndicates using the name of NIPC to claim credibility.
He therefore used the opportunity to call on state governments to be wary of unscrupulous elements who parade themselves as tourism promoters but whose intention is to defraud.
In his response, the Executive Director of NIPC, Alh. Mustapha Bello promised to give NTDC the required prominence and attention so that tourism would be used to bring inflow of revenue and direct foreign investment into the nationâ€™s economy.
â€œWe must work together with you to expose the effect of tourism on how it can make rural and urban communities going adding â€œthe impact is more than you can quantifyâ€.
He said a working document known as sector specificÂ policy on tourism would soon be prepared which along with NTDC input would encompass the vision for tourism and which would be implemented within a specify period.
Alhaji Bello said in collaboration with NTDC the list of states that have taken tourism seriously should be compiled in order to work with them to exploit their tourism products to the maximum.
Another area of cooperation isin the area ofÂ NTDCÂ organizing fam trips for foreign investors to major areas of interest across the country to give them first hand experience of profile of the country.
On how to sustain tourists interest in Nigeria, the NIPC boss said festivals, including Cultural and Sports festivals and other events should have definite calendar, explaining that with this, foreign tourists would have enough period to plan their trips, â€œwe should structure these festivals deliberately to attract peopleâ€ adding â€œonce it is sustained it helps people to planâ€.He urged the NTDC boss to be focused and determined to carry out his assignment.