DONATES 1OOM TO PROJECT TOURISM DEVELOPMENT.
The month of April ushered in good tidings for Nigerians with the unveiling of the ‘Tourism Project’ at the hip Bon Elvis Hotels, Abuja with its lovely decor and ambience, in what can be described as a classy lunch media-parley .
A partnership between Delta North Senator elect, one of Nigeria’s foremost tourism investor and promoter, Prince Ned Nwoko and Nigerian Tourism Development corporation (NTDC) which has been in the works for over 3 years is keen on growing the industry away from government direct intervention while harnessing its potentials as another key economic derivative asides oil and gas. Not surprising, as countries seek other energy alternatives from oil resulting in dwindling fortunes.
Nwoko, initiator and chairman of the project says this is an initiative that has the potential of helping the country meet the increasing demands of her citizens. Through it, we can showcase our dance, food, culture and every element of the cultural Iife of our country. In Nigeria, there is no organised sector with Government supports to promote tourism. Tourism must be nurtured, tourism must be put together, tourism must be taken care of,” he emphasized.
The partnership would focus on four key areas in building tourism capacity for the country. These are Host Family Scheme; Culture Village; Grassroots Sports Development and Global Road Show to promote tourism in Nigeria. One of the most intriguing aspects of the partnership is the Host Family Scheme, poplar with South East Asia is designed to encourage thoroughly screened and assessed Nigerian personalities and families to host tourists and exchange students in their homes. It is also designed to expose visitors and tourists to the workings of the typical Nigerian society. By this deal, Nollywood ambassadors are to serve as hosts to tourists on a visit to Nigeria. “This is because most of the Nigerian movie artistes are faces foreigners can relate with. We will provide support and necessary security assistance and screening to protect our tourists and artistes in the project,” explained Nwoko.
“Project Tourism” is geared towards allowing tourists, exchange students and other travelers get a firsthand experience of our tourism offering through taking up of rural residences with Nigerian communities.
its a win, win for all as Nigerians will be encouraged to win vacations, trips, holidays, breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a way of promoting destinations, local cousins, culture and sports. In the process, Nigeria will expose her cultural diversity and heritage to the world, building friendships across cultures, countries and continents. The project has to ensure that every state identifies and supports villages in their state that are culturally and geographically rich in tourist features. “For example, in Delta state, Idumuje Ugboko has rich culture and geography features that are delight to behold. There is also Mount Ned Nwoko Tourists Resort. Such community should be identified and supported by the state. We love our culture and traditions. Delta state have monuments and tourist locations.
In a book on tourism sites in the state, it contains 27 tourist locations, incidentally, three (3) of these locations are in Idumuje -Ugboko,” Nwoko revealed.
There’s no tourism without sports. I daresay. Little wonder, grassroots sports development scheme plays a role here. By this, the project intends to nurture, encourage, promote and manage talents in all areas of sports at the grassroots level; essentially developing sports tourism nationally. On the global scene, the project would undertake road shows with a view to showcasing tourism products of the country. It is expected to cover five continents through organised roadshows.
On its own part, NTDC has not hidden its desire to refocus the travel and hospitality industry in the country since the inception of the current administration led by Folarin Coker, Director Geneneral, a firm believer of investment in the tourism sector of the country as one of the only means for the country to grow alternate source of economic mainstay apart from oil. This partnership, as believed by some experts is perfect. NTDC has the country’s data base on tourism, hospitality, and the corporation is also bringing to the ‘Project Tourism’ table its regulatory infrastructure.
Earlier in the life of the current administration in NTDC, Tour Nigeria, a policy direction that intends to encourage domestic tourism was birthed. The corporation further signed an agreement with Google Earth with a mission towards shaping earthy images of the country on internet. Policy works in Nigeria have consistently made a case for the need to tap into the global and continental potential of tourism. They lament that the country makes less than five percent of the tourism potentials in the continent despite Nigeria contributing an estimated 34 per cent. On the home front, the growth of the industry has been marginal. Its direct contribution to the GDP is estimated at 4.3 for last year. This is quite low compared to global growth of the industry. Worldwide, the tourism industry has experienced steady growth almost every year. International tourist arrivals increased from 528 million in 2005 to 1.19 billion in 2015. Figures were forecasted to exceed 1.8 billion by 2030. But interestingly, United Nations’ World Tourism Organsiation, UNWTO, said that worldwide international tourists arrival (overnight) visitors increased by 6%, to 1.4 billion in 2018 above the 3.7% growth earlier predicted.
Other travel facts show that tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries with a global economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced) of over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016.The direct economic impact of the industry, including accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions, was approximately 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars that year. A number of countries, such as France and the United States, are consistently popular tourism destinations, but other, less well-known countries are quickly emerging in order to reap the economic benefits of the industry.In 2015, global international tourism revenue reached approximately 1.26 trillion U.S. dollars, having almost doubled since 2005. That year, China had the largest international tourism expenditure, followed by the United States and Germany. The leading city in international visitor spending was Dubai , where tourists spent more than 31.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.“Tourism, as we know, is all inclusive and therefore includes the totality of activities of the people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for business, leisure or for other purposes for the not more than one consecutive year. It includes, drivers, hospitals, bukateria, and so on,” said Hon Nwoko.
As the name implies, it involves Nigerians coming together with responsibility of promoting Nigerian tourism. There will be Annual competitions where people win prizes. I know that a lot of money is needed to start the road show, we need committed people to help execute the programme. It is proposed to start July this year.
After spelling out the goals of the PROJECT and its areas of focus, Hon Prince Ned Nwoko donated the sum of One Hundred Million Naira (N100m) to the PROJECT as a take off grant.
Responding to the address by the Chairman, its National Coordinator, Chief F. O. Anumba said, “I want to thank Hon Prince Ned Nwoko most immensely for initiating this laudable project, with this progressive collaboration between Linas International Limited and the Nigeria Tourism Development Cooperation, NTDC, I have no doubt that the time for tourism boom in Nigeria is now.”
The media Launch was attended by many dignitaries and officials from National Tourism Development Cooperation, NTDC , Nollywood actors and actresses, like Ejike Asiegbu, Apostle Eucharia Anunobi, Chinda Monalisa, Francis Duru and others. Organizations present were National Children’s Park, Zoo Ambassadors, representatives of higher Institution, the Private and Public Primary and Secondary schools across the country. Foreign missions in Nigeria were also not left out.