Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has revealed his ministrys readiness to collaborate with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), to develop a new tourism policy that would accelerate the development of tourism sector in Nigeria.
He disclosed this yesterday during a working visit to the Corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.
Mohammed said the policy would provide a great opportunity to develop 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 sub-sectors of the tourism network, he said.
The Minister, 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 Nigerias economy. He added that the sector employs more than one million people, even though it has the capacity to employ seven million people.
The Minister commended the NTDC’s TourNigeria initiative, noting that the NTDC is sitting on a keg of unexplored potentialities. He added that the Corporation could also 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.”
On the visa-on-arrival policy for African nationals which began operation in January, he said it would assist the industry to 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 paucity of fund 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 twin programmes he conceived, TourNigeria’ and NigerianFlavour, were driven to their full potentials and replicated in all the states of the federation.
TourNigeria 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 was deploying digital platforms and strategies to revolutionise the sector. “We are embracing digital transformation tools to gain more mileage and penetration to sell the Nigerian flavours, which includes music, film, fashion and food to the global world,” he said.
The NTDC boss reiterated that his road map for the Nigerian tourism, encapsulated in a five-point action plan of Corporate Governance & Regulations, Human Capital Development, Infrastructural Development, Events and Marketing, and Finance & Investment (CHIEF), was to promote and develop the tourism industry by promoting domestic tourism and encouraging ease of doing business in Nigeria.