The Acting Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), a Parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, has reiterated the need for government and tourism stakeholders to tap into the hidden treasures that abound in the tourism sector, especially at this time when Nigeria is facing a dwindling economy.

Stating this in her address at the flag-off ceremony of NTDC Skill Acquisition  Programme (Pilot Scheme), held on Monday, 27th February 2017, at the Tourism Village, Old Federal Secretariat, Area 1, Garki, Abuja-FCT, Mrs. Rae-Omoh said: “at a time like now when the country is faced with dwindling oil revenue, the exigency of alternative revenue sources cannot be over-emphasized. As such, the tourism sector provides a preferred option. NTDC has keyed into the Change Agenda of the present administration, especially with our conviction that the diversification light is beamed on the tourism industry. The sector, therefore, requires a strong and concerted political will to thrive”.

The Rae-Omoh further gave reasons why NTDC, as an apex tourism agency in the country, charged with the overall responsibility of marketing and promoting Nigeria’s huge tourism endowment in addition to other responsibilities, such as, collection and collation of tourism statistics, had to embark on such empowerment programme.

Her words: “The initiative to enshrine skill acquisition empowerment programme in our drive to promote tourism is for the same purpose of facilitating and providing small scale tourism enterprises opportunities to grow and create employment”.

The NTDC Director-General also pledged the Corporation’s unflinching determination to take Nigeria’s tourism industry to the next level by continuously promoting, facilitating and coordinating all tourism and hospitality establishments in the country, as well as create the enabling environment for tourism to thrive in the country. 

Concluding, she assured that the skill acquisition project will provide a veritable platform for youths, women or the unemployed to be empowered for self-reliance, adding that it will also provide huge and endless opportunities to earn income through small scale business enterprises.

There were goodwill messages from the Honourable Minister, sister Parastatals, hospitality industry and travel agencies, to encourage the Corporation and participants who were in attendance to the flag-off the programme.

 rae1Dignitaries who graced the occasion were the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the Deputy Director, Services in the Ministry, Patricia Narie; President, Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN) and Chief Operating Officer of Compass Hotels and Suites Ltd, Mr. Samson Aturu; President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr. Tommy Akingbogun; and Miss Tourism Nigeria, Queen Ogenna Walter.

Other personalities from sister parastatals were the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma; Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, represented by the Legal Adviser, NIHOTOUR, Barr. Mariam Inuwa; Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Alhaji Abdullahi Muku, represented by Evelyn Ikuenobe; Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, represented Mr. Davidson Aminu; Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, NICO, Mr. Alex Omijie; Public Relations Officer, NIHOTOUR, Mr. Ahmed Sule; Special Assistant to DG, NIHOTOUR, Ogba Obianuju; representative of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Abdulmalik Hassan; and Head Travel and Tourism, NIHOTOUR, Blessing  Okafor; among others.

The maiden edition of the two weeks NTDC Skill Acquisition Programme is expected to end with a closing ceremony on the 10th of March, 2017.

Njideka Dimgba

Office of the ES