THE Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, said now is the right time for government to diversify from a mono economy of crude oil to a multi-dimensional economy that is tourism-based through a pragmatic tourism policy.
She added that there is need to develop an encompassing tourism policy if it is to be sustainable, equitable and responsive so as to contribute more to the country’s economic development and in effect raise the quality of life of all people.
The NTDC boss said this during a presentation at the 46th Annual Accountants’ Conference held in Abuja recently tagged “Beyond Oil: Harnessing Nigeria’s Resources for National Development.”
Mbanefo also again called on the government, private sector and other stakeholders in the economy to encourage vacation within the country as part of diversifying the economy for a sustainable economic development.
Her words: “We should work and vacate more here. Besides the fact that only a small percentage of Nigerians can afford to go on vacation outside the country, Nigeria is rich in places for vacation and adventure.”
She further stressed the need for Nigerians to promote and patronize our local products adding that only Nigerians can promote Nigeria within and in the diaspora.
Mbanefo said, “My domestic tourism campaign is focused on encouraging Nigerians to travel within the country and experience the superb weather, unique festivals such as the Durbar in the North, Osun Osogbo in the South West, Igbo Ukwu (New Yam) festival in the Eastern part of Nigeria and others in various ethnic groups.”
The NTDC boss, who noted that Nigeria remains a work in progress adding that the Federal government is working diligently day and night to bring improvement to all sector, encouraged Nigerians “to imbibe lessons from the life, times and struggles of patience, perseverance and faith in God of our President, Muhammadu Buhari. After sacrifice comes a better Nigeria; as day must come after night, so better times must follow times of struggles and sacrifice.”
Earlier, in his remark, the Chairman of the session, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere (Fellow Chartered Account (PP) commended the dogged efforts of the NTDC boss after her power point presentation of major tourism sites in the country and her achievements so far in promoting the rich cultural heritage of the country. On behalf of ICAN, he pledged to support the Corporation in the promotion of domestic tourism which is the bedrock for economic development.
He said, “ICAN is ready to sponsor one paged advertisement on a comprehensive tourism sites on monthly basis.”