Minister Asks NTDC Promote Tourism In Nigeria

Yemisi Izuora

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has

tasked the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to adopt

creative ways of actualizing its mandate of developing and promoting

tourism in Nigeria, with a view to attracting tourists to the country.

The Minister gave the charge when he paid a working visit to the NTDC

headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday to kick-start his tour of agencies

under his ministry.

“The truth of the matter is that NTDC is not just the apex

organization for tourism, it’s actually at the centre of all these

tourism activities and when you look at your Act, it actually mandates

you to develop, promote and market tourism in Nigeria.

”In other words, you are the chief marketer of Nigeria in terms of

bringing in people from outside to see what we have been blessed with

and also encouraging people locally to see what they have been blessed

with,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed, who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the

ministry, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe, said it is important for the NTDC

to understand its pivotal role in coordinating all the activities in

the tourism sector, and to realize its huge potential in view of its

capacity to create employment and contribute immensely to the nation’s

Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He stressed the need for the NTDC to appreciate that tourism is beyond

mere sightseeing as it encompasses the entire creative industry, which

includes film, music, gastronomy, fashion, photography and monuments.

“There are many reasons why people should come to Nigeria. We are a

country of colours. We are a country of about 250 ethnic groups and

each with its own history, its own culture and we are blessed with

miles and miles of beaches. We have an almost all-year round good

weather.

“We have been blessed with a film industry which is number two in the

entire world. We have been blessed with a music industry that has

become global,” the Minister said.

Alhaji Mohammed, who noted that the film industry is the least

untapped with only 51 cinema houses and less than 200 screens for a

population of about 200 million people, urged the NTDC to strive to

attract investments that will raise the number of cinema houses to

1000 and at least 6000 screens in order to turn the film industry into

a money spinner.

“This is where I think the NTDC will need to work even more closely

with the ministry so that we can actually actualize the potentials of

this industry and make it not just the fastest growing sector of the

economy of Nigeria but also increase its contribution to the GDP from

1.24 per cent to 3 or 3.5 per cent” he said.

In his remarks, the Director General of the NTDC, Mr. Folorunsho

Coker, said it is important to have a legal framework to harness the

potential of the tourism sector as a deliberate policy to develop the

sector.

He solicited the support of the ministry, especially in utilizing its

Information platforms to promote tourism at a global scale.

Mr. Coker later took the Minister on a brief tour of some of the

facilities at the NTDC headquarters.

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