DIRECTOR General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, has assured Mexican investors of a safe and fertile Nigeria for investments.
Mbanefo, who said this during her presentation on Tourism Investment Opportunities In Nigeria at the Mexico Seminar on Business Opportunities in Nigeria, emphasized that an area in the North Eastern part of the country with security challenges is so minute compare to the size of the country, adding that the present administration, within a year, has been able to drastically reduced the activities of the insurgents in the area.
The NTDC boss, while encouraging the Mexican investors to consider investing in the nation’s tourism sector disclosed that the main thrust of Nigeria’s tourism policy are to: create employment and engage the youths, generate foreign exchange, encourage small and medium enterprise development, promote tourism based rural enterprises, empower local communities and reduce urban migration, and promote cultural exchange.
She said Nigeria is the largest and fastest growing economy in Africa, with the largest population in Africa, saying “one in every seven black persons is Nigerian. Now, imagine selling your products to over 170m people. We are not just populous, but we are the happiest, most friendly and warm people with over 250 ethnic groups who are united in diversity. And we have the best weather.
“Now is the best time for you to invest in Nigeria, as we are moving away from total dependence on oil, and our tourism industry is a goldmine you can explore.
“Our business tourism is excellent, so also our entertainment Tourism (Nollywood & Music); our religious, sports and conference tourism are very good and active, while our culture (festival), medical tourism, education Tourism, ecotourism and agro tourism are promising.”
She highlighted the required facilities and services/investment opportunities in the Nigerian tourism sector, which according to her include: energy supply; water supply; access roads; camping tents/shelters; floating accommodation and restaurant; cable cars; hot air balloons; boats: power boats, small sail boats, man-powered vessels, cruising boats; wildlife viewing vehicles/safari vehicles; hostels and dormitories; specialized stores/malls for camping and hiking accessories, recreational sports equipment and accessories; paths, beach promenades, boardwalks passage ways for boats and cruise ships; small boat marinas and harbors for large passenger ships; parks, sporting facilities; coastal protection projects breakwaters, pumping sand onshore Garbage disposal; sewage disposal and transportation (building airports, roads, etc).
Government incentives to potential tourism investors, according to Mrs Mbanefo, are provision of infrastructure (good roads, water, electricity, communications); concessional rates for easy access to land; development and demarcation of potential tourism zones; tax holidays, tax rebate and soft loans with long period of moratorium; major tourism projects to be given pioneer status; frequent review of acts and regulations for sanitization and standardization of the industry; encouragement of joint venture participation through Public/Private Partnership; maximum duty on Casino, Amusement and Theme Parks facilities not manufactured in Nigeria, and grant of work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills in the industry.
“The current administration is focused on diversifying Nigeria’s economy and our mandate at the NTDC is to create an enabling environment, promote domestic tourism and fast track investment incentives that will propel growth in the tourism industry to make Nigeria Africa’s foremost tourism destination. With a domestic tourism market estimated at $4bn, tourist arrivals at 4.03m in 2013 which grew to 4.8m in 2014, we are ready for investors from Mexico,” she said.