THE tourism skill acquisition and empowerment programme initiative of the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, earned encomiums the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, and Deputy Head of the Political Section of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Andrew Fleming, among other stakeholders in the industry.
The two-week skill acquisition programme, organized for the youth in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) started February 27, 2017 and training the participants in: soap disinfectants; loca weaving; bead making/tye and dye; hat making/gele tying; hair weaving; catering and furniture.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the programme, held at the Village Hall of the Corporation, Senator Urhoghide, represented by his Senior Legislative aide, Barrister Neda Imasuen, commended the initiative, which he said will boost the nation’s economy and empower the people.
Urhoghide, who disclosed the keen interest of the Senate in the development and promotion tourism in Nigeria said: “Diversification is all about tourism. Many countries make a lot of money from tourism. The problem is that we never really sell ourselves. What we promote is the negative sides of the country. If we portray our country in a good light, others will see it in such light, and this will increase tourist influx into the country, and in turn positively affect our economy.”
Fleming in his own remark expressed hope that beneficiaries of the programme will explore the training to grow the economy of the nation.
While appreciating the laudable tourism assets in Nigeria, the Deputy Head of the Political Section of the British High Commission in Nigeria said: “I’m interested in Nigeria and the Nigerian tourism. The people are warm and great. I’ve been here since 2014 and even visited nine states in the country. Nigeria has great festivals and other tourism assets. There are so many opportunities in the country, which have not been fully tapped into.
Mrs. Rae-Omoh earlier in her speech said the Corporation flagged off the programme “for the purpose of our collective interest and for greater awareness, the Tourism Village Development to provide a platform for the promotion of small scale business ideas/skills that have tourism components in order to serve as a window for empowering our citizens.”
She emphasized that “the Tourism Village adoption technique is in tandem with the Tourism Master Plan. Our intention therefore is to use it to encourage the clustering of small scale tourism stills or business at locations to be referred to as tourism villages.”
The NTDC boss added that: “From our encounter in the few days, we have come to realize that there are huge responsibilities on our part as an organization to properly harness the potentials that are at the up and down streams of the Tourism industry. Unfortunately, our funding situation does not provide us with sufficient capacity to sustain initiatives such as these. This may be one of several reasons that cripple the Nigerian tourism industry.”
Rae-Omoh appealed to corporate organization, private sector stakeholders, national and international funding agencies to support the Corporation’s initiatives with increased funding, which according to her will enable the Corporation replicate the effort, thereby impacting on job creating, revenue generation and empowerment.
Not fewer than 66 completed the programme and were given certificate.
The beneficiaries expressed gratitude to the NTDC management for organizing the programme, which according to them has set them on the pedestal of good fortune, and would also enable them contribute immensely to the society.