Tuesday, 17 October 2017

NIGERIA: France Ready To Boost Nigeria Tourism

Mr Denys Gauer, French Ambassador to Nigeria
Mr Denys Gauer, French Ambassador to Nigeria, has expressed that country’s willingness to partner with Nigeria in its tourism sector to further boost its development.

Gauer made this know during his courtesy visit to the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) office in Abuja on Thursday.

“France has important expertise in the field of tourism. We have companies in tourism which could invest in Nigeria, so I will be happy to attract them to invest in Nigeria.

“We could also develop training activities for young Nigerians in that regard,’’ Gauer said.

The envoy said tourism was an important activity adding that it represented about seven to eight per cent of the gross domestic product of France.

He stressed that it was not just important for the revenue it generates but also to the image of the country.

“It makes your country known all over the world for its attractiveness and consequently attracts other kinds of activities for investors in other sectors to come in.

Gauer maintained that in spite of the many possibilities to develop the sector in Nigeria, there was need to concentrate on the development of domestic tourism.

He however said that concrete efforts should be put in place to address some challenges in the area of airports, security, visa and good roads to access the various tourist sites.

“You need good hotels not only in Abuja and Lagos but in other touristic places. You need to organise activities and encourage private sector involvement.

“The fact that the NTDC has to organise all that and create conditions for smooth operation; the private sector also has to drive it, this is because there are so much demand.

“Already, the cultural activities and landscape are there, so the question now is how to organise it and make it attractive,’’ Gauer said.

“ I have seen many possibilities for developing tourism in Nigeria; the `Durbar’ in Kano which is a very fantastic cultural event but there is no tourism organised around it; there are no packages.

“I visited the sacred groove in Osogbo. I was told that the Osun-Osogbo festival is for the whole week which was characterised by ceremonies and cultural event.

“Apart from the Yorubas who reside in America, U.S. other places who are aware of the Osogbo festival, it is not well known even though it has the capacity to attract more people.

Earlier, Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General of NTDC said tourism in Nigeria has the potential to create jobs that were income generating, taxable and value creation.

Coker underscored the instrumentality of brand to the growth of tourism across the world; adding that brands were vehicles that facilitated the consumption of tourism products by people regardless of tribe, religion and race.

“Tour Nigeria is NTDC’s brand and within that branding concept, we also are looking at five point agenda to sort out some of our internal problem within the NTDC and the industry.

“We look at our corporate governance and the regulation that currently govern tourism in Nigeria.

“These laws were made in 1992; tourism has change between 1992 and today.

“We have been to the National Assembly to look at what can be done to repeal the laws establishing NTDC and to enact new ones that is compliant to the best global practice.

“We are also looking at human capital development; if you don’t train new digital medium that are used to drive tourism, you may not see the revenue that exist in the industry,’’ Coker said.

He said until challenges ranging from high interest rate, infrastructural decay and others in the sectors were properly addressed, “ we will always have a start and stop industry’’.

Coker noted that tourism is a `global business’ that involves different modes of transportation, hospitality and entertainment; adding that NTDC is currently marketing Nigeria to Nigerians.

“When we treat tourism as businesses, we will see and get the reward from it like a business’’ he said.

Tourism Observer

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