THE Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and other key stakeholders in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries have kick started moves to develop tourist sites in Nigeria, with Abuja as a pilot scheme.
To ensure this, the stakeholders planned to develop three tourist sites in Abuja, which are: Abuja Children’s Park and Zoo; Wild Life Park and Zoological Garden and Jabi Lake. They promised to obliterate obstacles in the way to achieving this.
The stakeholders, comprising of both the public and the private sector met at the NTDC headquarters, Abuja to brainstorm on the way forward for the development and promotion of the Nigerian tourism sector.
Acting Director-General of NTDC, Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh earlier in her speech reaffirmed her commitment to working with stakeholders in the industry to move the industry forward, saying “it is best to work with stakeholders because they are the ones driving the industry.”
Rae-Omoh informed that her objectives are to raise the NTDC staff moral to accelerate the mission of boosting the industry; to cordially work with the stakeholders, and to develop a template for running tourism in Nigeria.
She added that tourism, when fully developed and promoted in Nigeria, will create wealth and jobs, and ensure unity in the country.
FTAN President, Chief Tomi Akingbogun, expressed the readiness of the association to work with NTDC to propel rapid development in the sector, while charging the Corporation to include the association in its planning for international tourism events.
Acting Director, Parks and Recreation, Arc. Ali Ukele, commended the move to launch the development of the tourist sites in the country from Abuja, adding that his organization has a master plan for Jabi Lake, “to develop it to Water Base Resort Park of international standard.
Ukele disclosed that there is a litigation issue on the site, “and we are working to resolve the case; once this is done, work can begin on the lake. Also, there is an issue with the military on the Abuja Park and Zoo, but it will be sorted out soon.”
President, SKAL International, Zack Abdullahie, corroborating the words of the FTAN president, said carrying the stakeholders along will accelerate the promotion of Nigeria as a destination of choice to both the local and international tourists.
While the Ex-Officio of FTAN/NANTA, Alhaji Rabo Saleh, called for a priority attention on domestic tourism, explaining that “the high exchange rate is seriously discouraging participation in international tourism event, hence it is expedient for us to create activities in Nigeria to stimulate domestic tourism.”
Present at the meeting are representatives of NTDC; Federal Capital Territory Tourism Department; Development Control Department; The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN); National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA); Institute for Tourism Practitioners (ITP); SKAL International; Hospitality and Tourism Management (HATMAN), and Hotel Owners Forum Association (HOFA).