Rae-Omoh: The Making Of A Tourism Aficionada

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Mariel Rae-Omoh
Mrs, Mariel Rae-Omoh

EVERY man has a place in destiny. Fulfilling destiny, however, is a matter of time and chance, which are solely controlled by God. But the extent of benefits one gets and the degree of positive influence one has on humanity are determined by one’s preparation.

For the acting Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, it is preparation meeting opportunity! She could be said to have been well-prepared for the challenge of sailing the ship of the Nigerian tourism industry, which is the main responsibility of the corporation, to the Promised Land.

Her academic background in Tourism and Hotel Administration from a prestigious higher institution in Italy, her Post Graduate Diplomas in Mass Communication and Journalism and Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, have proven to be good pivots for her, positioning her as a viable tool for the uplift and improvement of the tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria.

The aptness of Rae-Omoh to supervise the activities of the apex tourism body in Nigeria is not only hinged on her academic qualification, but also, on her practical experiences, as she has spent the good part of her career life in NTDC, after having worked for three years (1985 – 1992) at Sheraton Hotels Inn & Resort Worldwide (Lagos Sheraton), immediately after the completion of her youths service in 1984.

Born in the mid-sixties, and of Edo origin, Rae-Omoh joined the service of NTDC in 1992, where she has cut her teeth as a tourism aficionada with sterling qualities, starting as Head, Public Relations Unit (Marketing & Promotion Department). She also served as the Acting Director, Marketing and Promotion Department (1988 – 1999); Chief Public Relations Adviser to CEO NTDC (1999-2001); Head, Zonal Offices Co-ordination Division (January – December 2002), Assistant Director, Travel Trade Department (2003). Others included: Zonal Coordinator, South-South Zone (April 2007 – October 2007); Deputy Director, Marketing and Promotion (1st January 2009) and Director, Hospitality and Travel Trade (1st January, 2005 until her elevation as the Acting Director-General of the Corporation.

Aside her academic qualification and work experience both in the private and public sectors, Mrs Rae-Omoh belonged to three professional bodies – she is a member of the Institute of Hotel and Catering Management IHCM (1990 till date); member, National Executive Council of IHCM (1990 – 1992) and Member, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

Rae-Omoh has attended a good number of seminars and conferences.

She was a member, Local Organising Committee, African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO, President Forum); member, Organising Committee on World Travel Market, London, UK; Chairman, Tax Force, Organising Committee on the 1st Stakeholder’s Forum, by the former Dirctor General of NTDC, in Lagos, and Chairman Committee on Exhibition ATA, Calabar.

She was also a member, Central Planning Committee ATA, Eco-Tourism Symposium, Calabar; member National sensitization Workshop on Grassroot Tourism, Osun State; member Planning Committee Stakeholders’ Meeting to Review Cultural Policy, while she was also the schedule officer, National Handler Abuja Carnival; a schedule officer, National Workshop on National Tourism Awareness and Development in Nigeria in Jos, Plateau State.

The Acting Director-General made a paper presentation on Achieving Africa’s Tourism Growth with the Basic at the 3rd Calabar International Conference, while she also co-organised a workshop with the Director Tourism, EOWAS Commission on Classification and Grading of Hospitality and Other Tourism Enterprises within the ECOWAS Sub-Region, and the General Hotel Inspection Principles, Classification and Grading Workshop with the GM of Ghana Tourist Board, Abuja.

Not limited to that, she was the schedule officer, ATA Congress, Nairobi Kenya; member, 2nd Common Wealth Business Forum, Abuja; member, organizing committee on Tourism Master Plan Seminar, Abuja (2003); member, organizing committee on Louis Sullivan Conference, Abuja (2003); Member, organizing committee on tourism journalism course by National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Bagauda, Kano, Member, Organising Committee on the World Travel Market (WTM), Trade Fair in London, UK (1999).

More so, she was the resource person for Tourism Appreciation Workshop, organized by NIHOTOUR in conjunction with NTDC (1997) and Basic Training on Registration, Classification and Grading of Hotels and Tourism Enterprises (1995), respectively; a schedule offier for African Travel Association (ATA) congress in Cotonou, Republic of Benin and also, a member, Planning Committee, First Commonwealth Public Relations Conference, Abuja (1990).

Her commitment to service and patriotism to the development and promotion of the Nigerian tourism and hospitality sector cumulated into her corporate achievement. She organised tourism lectures in secondary schools and NYSC Orientation Camp in the country; formed the Youth Tourism Club in schools and NYSC camps; succeeded in inculcating “Tourism” in the schools’ curriculum in the country in collaboration with the National Education Research Development Council (NERDC), Sheda Abuja, and singlehandedly piloted the Tourism Information Desk at Tinapa Resort, Calabar.

Mrs. Rae-Omoh also initiated and developed policies and functions in respect of the Hospitality and Travel Trade Department, and liaised with the relevant government agencies and stakeholders such as: Abuja Municipal Area Council and other area councils in the FCT, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), National Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) and Hotel Owners’ Forum Abuja (HOFA), among many others.

The Acting NTDC boss also oversaw the national registration, classification and grading of hospitality and tourism enterprises in the country; co-ordinated reports on revenue generated from the National Registration exercise in the zones; carried out routine inspection of all hospitality and tourism related establishment in the country to ensure standards are met, and headed the national registration enforcement team.

Others included achievements include heading of the panel for the identification of hotels operating without signage in FCT and in other parts of the country; responding to private or public complaints about the corporation’s activities and clarifying issues in dispute, and coordinating of the quarterly hotel enumeration exercise in the country.
Additionally, she supervised the quarterly stakeholder’s forum, which is one of the major functions of the Hospitality and Travel Trade Department.

As a confirmation of her dexterity and expertise in the Nigerian tourism and hospitality sector, Rae-Omoh has a good number of project and workshop titles, which included – Tourism Promotion and Development in Nigeria: A Critical Appraisal of the Activities of the NTDC; Problems Inhibiting Tourism Development in the FCT; Effects of Motivation on Productivity in the Public Sector in Nigeria: A Case Study of Northern Nigeria Investment Ltd, Kaduna; and, The Public Sector: As Federal Government of Nigeria References and Portfolio of Projects Will be Furnished on Request.

Mrs. Rae-Omoh is not only a model in academic qualification, expertise in tourism and hospitality, and patriotism and contribution to the development and promotion of tourism and hospitality in Nigeria, she is also ideal in attributes. She possesses excellent communication skills and good negotiating prowess, while she is polite and pleasant in disposition. She has utmost respect for authority and decency. Blessed with a smart appearance, Rae-Omoh is quick to learn and adapt, humble, hospitable, dedicated to work, and with a natural flair for socialising.

A risk taker, decisive, competitive and competent, Rae-Omoh is not petty and impulsive, but she is logical, independent, and ready to engage in challenging and more tasking jobs. Not only that, she is emotionally stable and financially disciplined. Above all, she is a realist and humanist.

Her hobbies include Squash, Racquet Ball, interior designing/decoration, cooking, reading, travelling, discovery of new ideas and ideals.

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