The Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, and the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker, have told of efforts in place to grow and develop the tourism industry under their watches.
Both dropped the hint when Mohammed, paid a working visit to NTDC headquarters in Abuja, on Tuesday
The minister disclosed that the tourism sector is on the march with a new tourism policy adding that the policy portends great avenue for the development of the nation’s tourism industry, “and it will no doubt lead to an influx of foreigners into Nigeria to appreciate the potentials that abound in the country – our food, music, film, culture and fashion industries which are subsectors of the tourism network.”
Mohammed, who noted that Nigeria made $53 million from film and $51 million from the music industries respectively last year, described Tourism as the fastest-growing sector in Nigeria economy, which, according to him, employs more than one million people, though with the capacity of employing seven million people.
Alh. Mohammed while commending the NTDC’s TourNigeria initiative noted that the NTDC is sitting on a keg of unexplored potentialities. He added that the Corporation also can harness the huge potentials of Nigeria to attract people to Nigeria, “because there are many reasons people should come to Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a country of colours, with 250 ethnic groups, good culture and almost all-year-round good weather. We are blessed with a good music industry that has become global. Our fashion is celebrated globally. Nigeria also has good religious tourism, with lots of people coming to Nigeria every day for religious tourism.”
The Information and Culture minister while commenting on the visa-on-arrival policy for African nationals which began operation since the beginning of this year, said with the policy, the tourism industry will be better off, realise its full potentials and generate more revenue into government coffers and increase the fortune of operators in the industry.
While welcoming the minister, the Director-General of NTDC, Folorunsho Coker identified a paucity of funding as one of the critical problems besetting tourism development in Nigeria aside legislative framework to institutionalise the sector.
He promised not to rest on his oars until the ‘Tour Nigeria’ and ‘Nigerian Flavour’ twin programmes he conceived are driving to their full potentials and replicated in all states of the federation.
Tour Nigeria is a tourism brand, created by the NTDC in 2017, under the Coker-led administration, to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria.
Coker revealed that the Corporation is deploying digital platforms and strategies to revolutionise the sector, saying “We are embracing digital transformation tools to gain more mileage and penetration to sell the Nigerian flavours – music, film, fashion and food to the global world.”
The NTDC boss then reiterated his road map for the Nigerian Tourism, a five-point action plan – acronymic CHIEF (Corporate Governance & Regulations, Human Capital Development, Infrastructural Development, Events and Marketing, and Finance & Investment) – to promote and develop the tourism industry by promoting domestic tourism and encouraging ease of doing business in Nigeria.