The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke has again reiterated the fact that the tourism sector in Nigeria, if well managed, can serve as a major driver of the nation’s economy, just as it is capable of  providing job opportunities and alleviate poverty.

Duke stated this in an address at a one-day seminar on International Tourism Promotion and Marketing in Nigeria, organized by the Ministry at the Ekiti Hall of Nanet Suites and Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja, on Thursday, 9th October, 2014.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, the Minister said although the Transformation Agenda of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led Administration acknowledges the vast potentials that abound in the tourism sector, Nigeria still needed more political and economic recognition to harness the potentials.

He disclosed that already, the Federal Government of Nigeria was engaging and establishing the necessary synergy with the public and private sectors, and foreign investors to promote sustainable tourism development, considering a number of incentives put in place to encourage and enhance investment.

According to him, the theme for the seminar, “Contemporary Issues in the Promotion and Marketing of Nigeria as a Desired Tourism Destination,” was timely in recognising the importance of tourism, which has over the years established itself as one of the most vibrant and fast growing industries in the world.

Earlier in a speech presented on her behalf by the Director of National Orientation in the Ministry, Mrs. Gloria Abumeri, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele maintained that the importance of tourism to national economies cannot be over-emphasised as it contributes to the wealth of the nation and the well-being of its citizens through foreign exchange generation, employment creation and peaceful co-existence.

She however regretted the comparative analysis indicating Nigeria as a country lagging behind in terms of impact at International Travel Markets and other fora, while countries like Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Ghana among other smaller countries, are said to have since seized the opportunity offered by tourism to advance the image of their countries to reap from the benefits of investing in the industry.

Other Directors present at the occasion were Dr. Paul Adalikwu (Domestic Tourism), Mr. Johnson Odekina (International Tourism), and Ms. Grace Gekpe (Entertainment and Creative Services).

The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who also attended the event, was accompanied by NICOs Director of Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja