By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Lai Mohammed has assured that the Ministry is very much ready to collaborate with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in order to fully harness tourism potentials in the country.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a working visit to the head office of Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation NTDC, the Minister said tourism is a fast-growing sector and it needs to be strengthened to harness its full opportunities for growth and development of Nigeria.
He stated that the creative industry will be the next oil and gas in the nearest future.
According to him, tourism is not just sight scene, tourism is made up of entire creative industry and so when talking about tourism we are talking about food,Music, fashion, film, monument, photography and many others.
“When you look at the NTDC act, the mandate is to develop, to promote, to market tourism in Nigeria as well as to bring people to invest.
“This the government believes in the nearest future, the creative industry is going to be the next oil in Nigeria when oil will dry up the creative industry which is our music, our fashion, our films, our heritage sites will remain fresh and to attract people into the country.”
Talking about the Ministry’s effort toward the tourism Sector, Alhaji Mohammed expressed: “We have a very serious talk with the DG, we have gone through their challenges, we have also try to proffer solution to all the challenges but what is important is to realize that at NTDC are sitting at the keg of unexplored potentialities, we have the mandate to harness a huge potential of Nigeria to attract people to Nigeria.
“We are Country of colours, country of 250 ethnic groups, we have almost all round good weather, we have been blessing with film industry which is number two in the entire world, we have been blessing with the music industry that has become global, this why NTDC is important you need to attract tourist to come and see what Nigeria can offer.
“Our the industry is the fastest-growing sector of Nigeria economy today, it employed over 1 million people, but it has the capacity to employ several millions of people
“Our film industry is the least untapped, today we have about 53 cinema houses, and with less than 200 screens with a population of 200million people we need a thousand cinema houses and at least 6,000 screens.
Our music is growing, last year we made about $51millions dollar, our fashion is growing but the beauty of this creative the industry is it employs more people more than any other sector apart from Agriculture and the people that it employ is largely is the younger one.
This is why NTDC need to work even more with the Ministry so that we can actualize the potentials of this industry.
Earlier,In his Address, the Director-General NTDC, Folorunsho Coker commended the Minister for the visit saying that the visit is apt and would go a long way to boost tourism in the country
He said that “the ‘Tour Nigeria’ project, have driven domestic consumption of tourism assets and products in Nigeria; create new channels of tourism markets as well as generated employment. The brand has restored hope and excitement amongst Nigerians exploring limitless domestic tourism products in the country.
“Also the ‘Nigerian flavour’ initiatives have showcased the diverse gastronomy of Nigeria and promoted Abuja as a destination for fun, hospitality, and relaxation.”
Mr. Coker further stressed that the 5-point action plan initiative called CHIEF is to grow the industry and building a foundation for an attractive destination industry making for domestic and international tourists.