Tourism stakeholders and Entrepreneurs have applauded the efforts of the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], Sally Mbanefo for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Cote d’Ivoire Tourism Board on Tourism to boost and develop domestic tourism across the African region.
This assertion was made known during Cote D’Ivoire Economic Forum held recently in Lagos State
Speaking at the event, Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation said “Our country needs to improve its production capacity and must invest in labour intensive sectors like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. It is the only way to create jobs for the small and medium scale entrepreneurs, youth & women.
We have also been holding talks with Ghana tourism board as well as the South African tourism board. Two years ago we signed an MOU with the Gambia Tourism board soon as we signed the MOU, the first batch of my staff were approved for training & best practice exchange.
We will not stop until we achieve a West African Tourism Brand, so that when a tourist begins his trip in one African country they can conclude it in Nigeria to get a holistic approach to tourism in West African.
The Director General said “we want to encourage other African countries that have best practices for cocoa production, textile and fashion industries to collaborate with Nigeria to create jobs for youth. If our manufacturing and Agriculture industries are reawakened tourism would have contributed to job creation through such synergies with Cote D’Ivoire and other African countries where we can emulate their industry best practices”.
Mbanefo further emphasised that: we must encourage mechanised farming and industrialisation; I’m happy associations like Manufacturers Associations of Nigeria [MAN] whom I worked very closely with when I was in Lafarge Cement are here. The Fashion Industry is also a great opportunity to empower youth with skilled labour and grow small and medium scale enterprises.
According to the NTDC Boss, she said that the Corporation has been collaborating with Cote D’Ivoire Tourism Board for the past three years “They have been coming to the Corporation for collaboration between the two countries, the MOU signed today will unite us together and help to achieve the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] Tourism Brand Regional Alliance which NTDC has been working on with other African countries.
Mbanefo also noted that tourism value chain that touches every sector in the economy, for example tourism is leaving your house to seek business, leisure, sports, cultural or religious adventure the vehicle you use is either a car, bus, plane or train that is manufacturing benefitting, fuelling it benefits oil and gas sector and going to a bukka or restaurant to eat, benefits the Agricultural sector.
The Director General opined that NTDC is the apex Tourism promotion and marketing agency in Nigeria, our job is to market and promote the beautiful products of Nigeria like Cultural festivals, arts, Nollywood and our musicians and numerous eco-tourism products and link it up to the rest of Africa.
In her remarks, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire to Nigeria, Kone Maman Toure expressed appreciation to all the participants for honouring her invitation, she said “We will co-operate and partner with Nigeria in many areas such as Tourism, textiles, telecommunication, power, health and education.
Toure also said, “the Forum is a platform for Cote D’Ivoire to form an alliance with Nigeria to enable the two countries strengthen the existing areas and explore new fields of co-operation on a win-win situation and also reduce poverty in Africa”.