Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nigeria’s leading print media pledge support to NTDC…Mbanefo, Nigeria’s tourism chief visits Lagos Gov Fashola

Nigeria’s leading print media pledge support to NTDC

…Mbanefo, Nigeria’s tourism chief visits Lagos Gov Fashola


The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, paid a courtesy call on Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, recently.

Gov Fashola (right) with the NTDC DG, Mrs. Mbanefo.
Throughout that visit, Mrs. Mbanefo and members of her delegation were warmly received by Gov Fashola as well as Mr. Disu Holloway, Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, among others.

Meanwhile, the majority of Nigeria’s most influential newspapers and magazines have thrown their weight behind NTDC’s efforts to vigorously promote tourism in Nigeria. The NTDC DG got this assurance during her recent tour of various print media houses in Abuja.

The NTDC DG had visited the Abuja offices of The Sun, Leadership, The Guardian, Tell, The Nation and Champion during that tour. When she called at The Sun Publishing Limited, Mrs. Mbanefo, who plans to visit other media establishments in the near future, was received by the Executive Director (Special Services), Mr. Eric Osagie.

Speaking during her visit to The Sun, the NTDC DG said the support and cooperation of all stakeholders, including renowned media organisations like The Sun, was needed to realise her mandate of promoting and developing tourism in Nigeria.

Welcoming Mrs. Mbanefo, Mr. Osagie; while extolling The Sun as one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the country, which also touches on the grassroots, just as the NTDC boss’s hopes to develop tourism at the grassroots; pointed out that, the lady “couldn’t have started her media familiarisation tour at a better place”.

Speaking further, Osagie expressed his hope that the sun will shine on the NTDC, even as he aired the desire of Nigeria’s Voice of the Nation to be NTDC’s number one partner in every ramification.

Mr. Osagie, who went on to voice that he was impressed at the pace at which things are moving in the NTDC since Mrs. Mbanefo assumed duties, commended the director general for her desire to create jobs for the nation’s teeming youths via plans to build six tourism centres across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The NTDC DG has repeatedly pointed out that, job-creation is inevitable, to stem the tide of insecurity and other social vices associated with unemployment, which have plagued the nation over the years.

During her stop at Leadership Press, Mbanefo who took time off to explain her policy drive to some members of the editorial team, led by the outfit’s group Executive Director, Mr. Michael Okpere, pointed out that she is presently restructuring the NTDC after which she intends to grow the tourism value chain (TVC). She opined that this will consequently translate into reinventing the tourism industry.

Speaking further on her goals, the NTDC chief seized the opportunity to inform her hosts about the forthcoming Stakeholder’s Meeting, billed to hold on 9 September, this year. The NTDC DG intends to use that platform to officially unveil her policy thrust and address other pertinent questions raised by journalists, we gathered.

Responding, the Editor of Business Leadership, Mr. Isaac Aimurie, observed that “emphasis should be laid on the development and promotion of Parks as core destinations for tourists, while those that offer support services should also be integrated and carried along in the new initiative”.

In her reaction to this suggestion, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo stressed that, for now, she was focused on consolidation and expansion of deliverables, adding that the forthcoming Stakeholders’ forum will involve a holistic approach aimed at deploying all means towards the actualisation of a viable and vibrant tourism industry.

The actualisation of a viable and vibrant tourism industry called for focus on revenue generation and job creation, she pointed out, even as the NTDC DG reminded that, this “conforms to the transformation agenda of Mr. President”.

When she and her crew, visited the office of Champion newspapers, Mrs. Mbanefo again reiterated her request for media cooperation. At that destination, the Bureau Chief, Mr. Malachy Uzendu, while expressing his joy at the visit, declared that every previous DG of the NTDC had enjoyed a very cordial relationship with the newspaper and that Mrs. Mbanefo was only following suit.

Reminding the visitors that the present Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, was once a Champion Reporter, Uzendu went on to add that his outfit has come a long way, even as he also assured the NTDC DG of “maximum support”.

According to a release from NTDC Press, “the Senior Associate Editor of Tell magazine, Mr. Anayochukwu Agbo, promised on behalf of his magazine, to render positive, in-depth reportage of NTDC’s activities”. The release further stated that “Mrs. Mbanefo brings fresh impetus to the job, given her private sector background”.

On his part, the Abuja Bureau Chief of The Nation newspapers, Mr. Yomi Odunuga, while welcoming the NTDC delegation in his office, alongside some members of his staff, including the Managing Editor of Northern operations, Yusuf Alli; noted that The Nation “remains a pan-Nigerian paper committed to the development of the country, just like NTDC”.

Mr. Yusuf corroborated this position by asserting that “The Nation will give maximum support and cooperation, while advising that fairness should be employed in the placement of adverts in newspapers by NTDC in order to avoid discrimination and hard feelings”, according to the NTDC Press statement.

The NTDC boss, who revealed she came to seek friendship and support and to also use the opportunity to invite her hosts to the forthcoming stakeholders’ forum holding in Lagos, added that the platform will address all queries with regard her policy direction since major players like, Tour Operators, Travel Agencies, hospitality outfits, Police and relevant security agencies, such as Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service and other para-military organisations will be in attendance.

When she called at The Guardian House in Abuja, Mrs. Mbanefo re-echoed her position on the aforementioned issues. The NTDC DG was received at The Guardian by the Deputy Bureau Chief, Mr. Madu Onuorah, “who affirmed that the paper was ready to cooperate with her in the drive to make resounding impact in tourism development, just as he assured that they will also participate in the planned stakeholders’ forum in Lagos”, the statement concluded.

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