By Naomi Uzor
The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), said weekend, that tourism can help the country achieve the Nigeria of its dreams.
Speaking at 2014 Symposium/Luncheon of the hotel, tourism and entertainment group, tagged: “The Needs of the Tourism Industry in Nigeria”, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, the Director General of NTDC, Dr. Sally Mbanefo, said, tourism can help the country achieve the Nigeria of its dreams, not only for the present but also for generations to come by turning its dependence on diminishing oil revenue to tourism sustainable revenue for poverty alleviation and jobs creation.
She also appealed to the private sector to adopt tourist sites and develop them as part of their contributions to the development of domestic tourism in Nigeria, adding that, there is need to develop domestic tourism, not just for paid travelers alone, but leisure infrastructure in our various communities for citizens who cannot afford to travel.
“NTDC and government in general are aware that developing our local tourism industry for domestic consumption will not be an easy task as it is no longer a secret that more and more Nigerians that can afford it travel abroad every day.
Government can no longer fold its arms and continue to watch the daily capital flight that leaves our over 4,279 hotels and numerous restaurants dry” she said.
She noted that Nigeria must put in place a mechanism through which benefits can be derived from all derived from all departures, adding that, NTDC is coming up with a recommendation to government on how domestic tourism can benefit from this.
The President of LCCI, Alhaji Remi Bello, who was represented by the Director General, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said, called on government to pay attention to the supporting services sectors like aviation, transport, modern technology that powers electronic transactions and security in our attempt to promote tourism in Nigeria, adding that, if the country must promote tourism in Nigeria, these sectors must be well fixed.
“Apart from the string of the Ebola Virus Disease that was near an epidemic, the Nigerian tourism industry has also suffered from the scourge of insurgency that has sent fears into potential foreign tourists to Nigeria. However, with the right regulations, infrastructure and requisite investments, Nigeria’s tourism sector can get stronger” he said.