OsduThe Nigerian Stock Exchange is set to partner the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation to organize the 1st Presidential Summit on Tourism in Abuja, a move that has been a response to a directive by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on the need for MDAs to creatively engage the private sector for partnerships.

The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, disclosed this, Thursday, 20th February 2014, at a joint press briefing with the CEO of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Maitama-Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Duke said that the objectives of the Presidential Summit include, among others, to agree on the right policy framework for tourism development in the country, to create awareness on the opportunities abound in the sector, to get firm commitment from investors and stakeholders, and to create a sustainable synergy with practitioners.

He stated that if stakeholders think about the phenomenal developments in the telecoms sector, the aviation industry, the power sector, water resources, as well as steel and solid minerals, it was imperative to seek the partnership of the private sector to boost tourism and further grow the economy.

According to him, it is the tourism sector that is growing the economy of many countries, informing that Nigeria contributed about 40% of tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2013, which explains why the South African government recently opened its first regional office in Lagos.

Duke expressed dismay that the Tourism Master Plan by his ministry was launched about ten years ago but had neither attracted investment nor budgetary support and that there was urgent need to creatively involve the private sector as the tourism sector is a gold mine waiting to be tapped.

He assured that the ministry will be working with national and international agencies to re-engineer the tourism development process through the repositioning of the various tourism agencies and that the concerns of stakeholders about taxation, multiple taxation and security challenges, among others, would be adequately addressed, just as there would be concerted efforts to develop the over 230 tourism sites that had been identified in the country to stimulate interest in the sector and create jobs through Conference Tourism, Sports Tourism, Tourism Visa, and possibly, an ECOWAS Tourism Organization, among other strategies.

Speaking earlier, the CEO of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, recalled that the idea of the Presidential Tourism Summit was mooted during the visit of the Honourable Minister to the Stock Exchange House in October 2013 to ring the closing bell.

Onyema stated that the importance of travel and tourism in any nation cannot be over-emphasized, informing that the sector contributed N3.9billion to the nation’s economy in 2013, which was about 1.5% of the country’s total GDP, adding that Nigeria ranks 58 in World Travel and Tourism market, which indicates enormous opportunities that need private sector support.

He used the opportunity to call on well-meaning organisations to partner government to develop the sector, as government alone cannot do it; and he also enjoined government to create the enabling atmosphere for investors to seamlessly contribute to the development of the sector.

The Presidential Summit on Tourism is expected to take place sometime in June 2014, subject to the confirmation of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Present at the briefing were the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, SSA to the Honourable Minister, Mrs. Chika Balogun, CEOs of parastatals in the ministry, Mr. M.M. Maidugu (NCAC), Dr. Munzali Dantata (NIHOTOUR), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma (NICO), Alhaji Yusuff Usman Abdallah (NCMM), Mr. Abdullahi Muku (NGA), as well as Directors in the ministry: Mr. Daniel Tifato, Mr. Joe Odekina, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Mrs. Dayo Keshi, and Ms Grace Gekpe.

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