THE absence of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), at major international fairs and travel markets due to paucity of funds and budgetary delay will be a thing of the past as its Director-General, Mrs Sally Mbanefo has struck a mutually beneficial deal with a Dutch company which has signified its intention of bearing the burden.
Mbanefo in her resourceful stride has again struck this opportunity for Nigeria at The Hague, Netherlands.
Mbanefo was one of the few director-generals and head of parastatals who were opportuned to address and present papers for the attention of over 55 Dutch investors gathered by the Nigeria-Netherlands Economic Forum at the World Trade Centre, The Hague between 15 and 17 September, 2014.
Mrs Mbanefo impressed the gathering of investors with her presentation, which exposed the wonderful tourism potentialities of Nigeria, outlining the various opportunities, and challenges in an economically convincing manner, which pointed out that the investors, might have been missing by not having presence in Nigeria.
She pointed out that “Nigeria is a paragon and haven of investment.
“Unfortunately, my country is being victimised by some hidden forces who ensures that the good and positive developments are being subsumed, relegated into the background while the intangible negative ones are always highlighted and given global publicity. “
Articulating her points for proper perspective, Mrs Mbanefo employed and exposed the tourism potentialities of Nigeria to the investors via SWOT analysis.
She revealed to the international guests the tremendous strength of the sector saying “God has blessed us with all, ranging from beach, safari, religious, entertainment, cultural, mountain, shopping, food, and blessed with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who has included tourism development as one of his transformation agenda for the country. In addition, Nigeria is a country with the aura of luring 70 per cent of expatriates seeking naturalisation after the validity of their appointments.”
Mbanefo also unveiled the weaknesses of the sector which include, the presence of many wonderful and spectacular natural tourism sites, which are waiting for development, the dearth of investors to enhance and take advantages of the waiting investments, the false image being spread about Nigeria on the international platform which has scared and discouraged potential investors from moving closer to Nigeria and have a firsthand experience of the reality on ground, the financial constraints besieging the NTDC at ensuring prompt presence at international fora to present the true reality on ground and the inability of the stakeholders to access fund for development of the sites for the benefit of the nation and the global tourism community.
She also pointed out the opportunities waiting for tourism investors in Nigeria by the various incentives being offered by President Jonathan and the build up concessions for investors, the assured patronage trip booster by the population, the high Return On Investment, (ROI) and the ever ready support of the NTDC.
Mrs Mbanefo who spoke about the threat said “Like all other countries in the world, the threats are surmountable and not overwhelming.
“This is why we need the support and reinforcement of accomplished and productive inventors like you in the stride of President Jonathan at ensuring that the tourism sector in Nigeria walk, become vibrant and serve the citizens and the global world in a sustainable form.“
In her submission, Mrs Mbanefo said, “The tourism sector in Nigeria is not only buoyant and evergreen, but waiting for sustainable enhancement and development by both the citizen and foreigners, investors. “
“I want to assure you that we are not here for grandstanding, but we are here to seek positive partnership which will be mutually beneficial to all.
“On our own, we are ready and willing to facilitate any process that will add value to the development and promotion of Nigeria tourism assets without blinking an eye.”
Mrs Mbanefo’s address stoke the fire of interest in the distinguished investors who gave a standing ovation and wild applause for her expository speech.
Her fire of passion and assurance actuated a Dutch Company, Green Dream, which signified its intention of facilitating and ensuring the sponsorship of NTDC at international fairs and exhibition
According to Dr Leotine Van Hooft, Chief Executive Officer, Green Dream, “I appreciate Nigeria- Netherlands Economic Forum for this opportunity of listening to the address of this lady who represents a government corporation in Nigeria.
“This is the very first time I am hearing good and positive news about Nigeria. I am impressed by her deft of delivery and ability to stoke Nigeria’s interest in some of us particularly in the tourism industry.
Having listened attentively to her intelligent presentation and address, I saw in her a passionate desire to project Nigeria appropriately well and sell the awesome tourism potentialities of her country to the world.
“I have seen that one of the challenges facing her corporation is prompt fund and finance. This is the area where my company will come in.