NTDC BOSS, COKER CALLS FOR PROMOTION OF DOMESTIC TOURISM.

DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker has said that as part of its mandate to promote national development through the promotion of tourism, the corporation will collaborate with all stakeholders in the industry with a view to promoting domestic tourism in the country.

Coker said this while addressing members of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), led by its President, Chief Tomi Akingbogun, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Corporation’s headquarters in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The NTDC boss, who described tourism as a great employer of labour, said, “we need to start within our domain, focusing on consumption of our assets, promotion and development of domestic tourism, which will create multiple effect on job creation and poverty alleviation”. He added, “tourism identity would go a long way to project the country positively but first, it must begin with us”.

Speaking further, he stressed the need to package Nigeria for tourists, within and outside the country, while describing music, entertainment, fashion, cuisines and religion as part of good tourism assets the country is endowed with, which will boost the Nigerian tourism industry.

Coker, also disclosed the intention of his administration to launch a campaign that would encourage people to ‘Tour Nigeria, Buy Nigeria, Grow Nigeria,’ which according to him, will propel tourism development in Nigeria.

Earlier in his remarks, Chief Tomi Akingbogun expressed the willingness and readiness of the association to work with the government in sailing the ship of the tourism sector in the country, saying, “FTAN is always willing and ready to contribute to the development of the Nigeria’s tourism industry, to improve the lots of the nation and her great people”.

The FTAN President, who said the association represented the voice of all tourism practitioners in Nigeria, hinted that the association has discussed ways to stimulate tourism development through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed.

Akinbogun, who noted that there are a good number of private investors who are interested in the development of Nigerian tourism industry, said: “In the letter, we asked for Public-Private Partnership concession on three tourism projects in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory: Abuja Children Park and Zoo, Wild Life Park and Zoological Gardens, and Jabi Lake Water Recreational Activities, and others.

“We are focused more on transformation of domestic tourism in making Abuja a foremost tourism destination” which he described as model for national development which will be replicated in other States.

“When granted, the PPP will improve and expand domestic tourism sites already in the country, open up new domestic tourism destinations to private investors”, he said.

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