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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sally Mbanefo , Nigeria tourism boss celebrates World Tourism day in grand style

WTD 2014: NTDC garners accolades font size decrease font size increase font size Print Email 01.Oct.2014 DISQUS_COMMENTS Rate this item1 2 3 4 5 (0 votes) DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, has ascribed the steady and speedy growth of tourism in Nigeria to the conscious efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan led-administration to create an enabling environment for the money-spinning industry to thrive in the country. Mbanefo said this while delivering a welcome address during this year’s edition of the World Tourism Day (WTD), with the theme, “Tourism and Community Development,” organised by the Ministry of Tourism Culture and National Orientation and the NTDC, held at the Art and Craft Village, Abuja, last Saturday. She said that President Jonathan’s successful privatisation of the power sector, resulted in an enhanced power generation and supply, which according to her, and is very important in the tourism industry, as it will reduce the overhead expenses of hospitality operators. “President Jonathan remarkably upgraded airports in the country, which had not be considered necessary by previous administration, while Mr President, who is knowledgeable about the imports of transportation channels to the development of tourism industry rehabilitated old roads and constructed new roads, while overhauling the railways in the country,” Mbanefo said. She revealed that tourism could only prosper if it engages the local population by contributing to the social values such as participation, education and enhanced local governance, “There can be no real tourism development, if such development damages in any way the value and the culture of host communities or if the socio-economic benefits generated by the tourism sector do not trickle down to the community level. “It is important for stakeholders in the tourism sector to have competitive power over and above what is obtained in other countries of Africa. Therefore, it is imperative that as joint stakeholders, we provide value added content, enhanced services to meet tourists’ needs. All these would result in a synergy of efforts as domestic tourism would enable stakeholders to have the opportunity of finding each other,” Mbanefo said. Mbanefo who said that tourism needed to collaborate with other sectors to grow expectedly charged the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to contribute more to the tourism industry, saying, “This will enable us to jointly achieve our desired objectives. This is because in promoting a tourism development strategy, I cannot rule out the contributions of the private sector. “I believe their involvement in conjunction with state governments and government agencies would provide a comprehensive approach to the development and promotion of domestic tourism in the country.” The NTDC boss while disclosing the efforts of her corporation in promoting and developing potentials in the country, with domestic tourism as a catalyst, lauded the Minister of Tourism, High Chief Edem Duke and the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Nkechi Ejele for their supportive roles, which according to her, enabled her achieve much. She disclosed that she had visited over 20 states, meeting with stakeholders in the industry, government and traditional rulers, among others, while joining ventures with the private sector. She added that NTDC under her administration collaborated with the expatriates through the diplomatic communities to sell Nigeria’s tourism potentials and woo foreign tourists to visit and appreciate the fascinating tourist destinations and crowd-pulling festivals in Nigeria. Delivering the message of the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Taleb Rifai, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism Culture and National Orientation, Mrs Ejele, said this year’s WTD represents an opportunity to further advance tourism’s contribution to economic, social and environmental sustainability. “On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2014, I would like to invite all tourism stakeholders and host communities to come together and celebrate this day as a symbol of our common efforts in making tourism a true pillar of community development and community the basis of a more sustainable tourism sector,” the message read in part. The Permanent Secretary during exhibition of the Art and Craft Village, lauded the activities of the NTDC boss, saying, “Clap for the NTDC DG, Mbanefo. She is working.” Mrs Ejele noted that there was no rivalry between NTDC and the Ministry of Tourism, adding that Mbanefo was given a short notice to arrange for the 2014 WTD and she delivered, in spite of paucity of fund. Read 172 times