The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has mandated the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to create sustainable jobs for the teeming Nigerian Youths, through the Tourism Value Chain, saying that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had approved NTDC as the rallying point for showcasing Nigeria’s Tourism Assets and that the Corporation is to articulate a strategy and brand positioning for Nigeria in the international arena.
Making this statement at NTDC Stakeholders Forum, with the theme, “Rebuilding the NTDC and Growing the Tourism Value Chain for Revenue Generation and Job Creation,” at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, the Minister added that this takes cognizance of the fact that the world had moved beyond traditional diplomacy into an era of Brand Diplomacy.
He called on stakeholders, corporate organizations and every Nigerian to support this re-energized brand positioning and to proudly start a word of mouth campaign in support of the Federal Government’s media campaigns, especially on international platforms.
With regard to the issue of regulation and advocacy for improved infrastructure around tourism sites across the nation, Duke said that the ministry at a recent meeting with officials of States’ Ministries of Culture and Tourism resolved to revive the National Council on Tourism and Culture, and also agreed to rotate its meetings among the states so that policy-makers can work more harmoniously and better co-ordinate efforts at growing the Tourism Value Chain, as a sustainable alternative to oil.
The Minister reiterated the crucial role of NTDC and announced that the Federal Government had approved an enhanced salary structure for its staffers to enable them carry out their functions effectively.
In her address, the Director-General of NTDC, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, said the main thrust of the meeting was to map out strategies on how to translate Government policies into programmes and projects that can better serve stakeholders in the Tourism Value Chain, especially the Nigerian Citizen.
She proposed a three-fold strategy imperative for moving forward, namely, rebuilding NTDC; grow the Tourism Value Chain for Revenue and Job creation; and re-inventing Nigeria’s Tourism Industry.
Also speaking, the President of African Finance Corporation (AFC), Mr. Andrew Ali, who was the chairman of the occasion, identified the Tourism Industry as one of the major sources of income that generates high revenue and creates job for any country, if well managed.
He opined that the major problems Nigeria had were the neglect of tourism as a result of over-dependence on the oil industry and the non-documentation of tourist sites, which could have guided the number of tourism sites to be funded for revenue generation and job creation, thereby, reducing unemployment.
With regards to financing, Ali said that in financing any project, the issue of packaging has to be considered to show the expected revenue and corporate governance to ensure sustainability.
To kick start the Tourism Value Chain Alliance, NTDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with five corporate organizations, namely, Heritage Bank, ABC Transport, Arik Air, Reddington Hospital, and VISA Inc., to create the Nigeria Travel Card.