The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Gambia
Tourism Board on the development of Nigeria’s tourism industry.
The Director-General of NTDC, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, said in a statement in Lagos that the partnership would impact positively on tourism industry in the sub-region.
The statement, signed by the Public Relations Officer, Miss Grace Ukah, said that“Nigeria is a great factor in the development of tourism in West Africa.
We have the population which is a great lubricant in the wheel of developing tourism.
“We also have the political will to explore the potential of the industry.
“The Gambia is excellent in the industry. As a result, the partnership with the Gambia will enable us to exchange notes and programmes and share best practices,’’ Mbanefo said.
She added: “Following the partnership, NTDC staff can go to the Gambia for capacity building and bring back the knowledge to develop Nigeria’s tourism industry.
“This will also enable our staff to enlighten the Gambians on the tourism potentialities in Nigeria and tell Nigeria’s story correctly to the Gambians, thereby propelling them to visit Nigeria.’’
According to NTDC boss, the Gambia Tourism Board can send its staff to Nigeria for training under the agreement.
“Nigeria is blessed with innumerable fascinating natural and man-made tourist sites and attention-grabbing cultural festivals.
“I invite you to attend any of the festivals, and you will be glad you did,” Mbanefo said.
Also speaking on the occasion, the Director-General of the Gambia Tourism Board, Mr Benjamin Roberts, expressed the board’s commitment to work with the NTDC in promoting tourism in both countries.
“The Gambia could be said to be doing well in tourism yet, there is always room to improve.
“Therefore, we are here to learn from the immense tourism wealth of Nigeria and contribute to the growth of the industry.
“We are not just signing the MOU for the fun of it but we shall ensure that it works out for the benefit of the Gambia and Nigeria.
“The partnership, we believe, will also help to develop and promote sub-regional brands and experience,’’ Roberts said.
He said Gambia would also work together with Nigeria to co-brand tourist attractions at international events.
According to him, this will reduce spending on such events.
“We shall work on achieving one brand for the benefit of the two countries and also build the capacities of the workers of the NTDC and the Gambia Tourism Board.
“Hence, we shall come to Nigeria to appreciate Nigerians and tell Nigerians the Gambia story, while your people can also come and tell us Nigeria’s story.”
The Chairman of the Gambia Tourism Board, Mr Bakary Jammeh, lauded the passion of Mbanefo for tourism.
Jammeh noted that the partnership would make Nigeria a voice in the global tourism industry.
The Permanent Secretary, the Gambia Ministry of Trade, Mrs Naffie Barry, said the Gambia, though advanced in tourism, was always ready to improve.
“The partnership will promote regional integration. The partnership should not be seen as between the Gambia Tourism Board and the NTDC but between the two countries.
“The partnership will not only be a blessing to the two countries, but also to Africa, “ she said. (NAN)