Tony Obiechina; Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Uriel
Palti; Director General , Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation
(NTDC) Chief . Dr. ( Mrs.) Sally Mbanefo ; Nigeria- Israel, Chamber of
Commerce (NICC) Ike Willie-Nwobu and Director, Marketing & Promotions,
NTDC, Mrs Fibi Ikilama in a group photograph during a courtesy call
on the Director General by His Excellency at the corporate headquarters
of the Corporation in Abuja recently.
NIGERIA'S tourism industry is poised to receiving a huge boost as the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and the government of Israel have agreed to work on the development and promotion of the industry.
This was following the courtesy call of the Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Uriel Palti, on the Director-General of NTDC, Chief Dr. (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo.
Palti during the courtesy call expressed his readiness to facilitate collaboration between Israel and NTDC to develop tourism in Nigeria.
The Ambassador of Israeli to Nigeria said: "It's my pleasure to be Israel Ambassador to Nigerian. I enjoy the friendship of Mr. President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and fall in love with Nigeria. I won't be shy to say this. I am totally at the disposal of NTDC to help develop tourism in Nigeria.
"I must say that Nigeria has the highest pilgrims to Israel, hence we cannot but to be at her disposal to render assistance and develop her rich tourism potentials.
"To achieve this, I and my team will go together with NTDC to visit beautiful tourist sites and destinations in Nigeria, and also invite NTDC to visit Israel, meet with Israeli government and other tourism stakeholders in the country, and sign a Memorandum of Understanding on development and promotion of tourism in Nigeria.
"This arrangement will also enable Nigeria brings more investors from Israel to Nigeria."
Palti also disclosed that he loved the idea of exchanging programme and will facilitate exchange programmes on best practices in tourism between NTDC staff and Israel's Tourism Board.
Dr Mbanefo earlier in her speech disclosed that NTDC was working on how to be self accounting, "hence we have put some machineries in place to achieve this. One of these is the MoU we signed with Jovago, which enables tourists to book hotels in Nigerian from our website. With this, we will generate revenue. While our Tour Abuja City project will be launched this month."
The NTDC boss emphasised the machineries put in place by President Goodluck Jonathan to encourage tourism growth in Nigeria, saying "One of the most important things President Goodluck Jonathan has done is improving the power sector. Another thing is the upgrading of airports in Nigeria, which has been neglected for the past 52 years. He also did a lot with transportation, ensuring a good rood and working earnestly on the railway, among others.
"All these are lubricants to the wheel of tourism development in Nigeria. The Jonatha-led administration meant so well for the course of tourism development in Nigeria, hence all stakeholders must join this progressive course."
Dr Mbanefo who described the rationale behind her campaign for domestic tourism development and promotion as to create wealth and job at the grassroot, enjoined Nigerians who stay within Nigeria, and foreigners to appreciate the beautiful tourist sites that abound in Nigeria.