Tourism can provide paradigm shift from over dependence on oil- DG NTDC
Mrs Sally Mbanefo, the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) on Tuesday stressed that tourism would provide the paradigm shift from overdependence on oil. Mbanefo made this assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. ``Tourism is a sector that can give the Nigerian economy the paradigm shift from the absolute dependence on a dwindling oil sector to a vibrant and sustainable multi sector driven by tourism.’’ She said that what the country needed was to increase its production capacity by investing in labour intensive sectors like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. ``The current administration’s change agenda is providing the right platform to attract the much needed investment into tourism ventures.
``The role of government through NTDC is to market Nigeria as a foremost destination for business, sports, religious, leisure and cultural tourism,’’ she said. Mbanefo regretted that in spite of the contributions of tourism activities, which ranged from transportation to accommodation facilities and food, this had not been properly captured in the statistical data of Nigeria. ``If this is done, the huge earnings of tourism sector will be seen and will encourage government, donor agencies, Nigerian and internal business owners will be convinced to fund and invest in the sector. ``Tourism value chain cuts across all sectors of the economy and has the potential to create the most employment opportunities, grow small and medium scale enterprises, reduce poverty, foster and encourage social integration. ``Promoting and preserving our tourist historical sites and assets will empower local communities and states where they are located, this will reduce rate of urban migration,’’ she said. She said that tourism was the greatest employer of labour in the world which boosts the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of any economy and its power to generate revenue must not be under estimated. ``The future is bright for Nigeria with a land mass population of 9237km in human and natural resources, in spite of the setback we are witnessing due to over dependence on oil over the years. According to Mbanefo, ``Nigeria has no business with poverty if we properly explore and harness our endowments to unravel the economic challenges that befalls us.’’ ``Each and every one of us must be involved in promoting and marketing domestic tourism which is the key to youth and economic empowerment,’’ she said