Nigeria: Oyo, Kwara seek NTDC support for tourism development, promotion

Posted: March 23, 2012 in travel & tourism

Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has expressed the desire to collaborate with the Oyo State government in a concerted bid to harness the tourism potentials of Oyo state, just as the corporation has also assured of collaboration with the Kwara State government with a view to promoting major tourists attractions within that state.

In separate courtesy visit to the office of the NTDC in Garki, Abuja, by delegations from stage governments, the director general of the NTDC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, promised to the various states of the corporation’s continued assistance to developing and promoting tourism activities in the states.

Special Adviser to the Oyo state government on Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Amao Olubunmi who led the state’s delegation to the NTDC office had earlier informed Runsewe that the Oyo State ministry of tourism was practically moribund when she was appointed Special Adviser recalling her previous encounter with the NTDC boss, she implored Runsewe to bring his experience to bear in helping to explore the tourism content of Oyo State.

Responding, Runsewe highlightes the extensive tourism potentials of Oyo State saying the State has the prospect of being the custodian of Sports tourism in Nigeria given its rich sporting history, just as he further maintained that tourism remains the only solution to create wealth, generate employment and empower people.

Assuring of NTDC’s commitment to work with Oyo state in all ramifications, Runsewe urged the Oyo State government to come up with one tourism product like a talking drum festival and have everyone key into it as is done in other parts of the world.

Runsewe however, lauded the Oyo State government for its interest in tourism development asserting that his appointment of capable hands to manage the State’s tourism industry is in line with modern trends.

Remarking, Chairman of the Board, Engr. Benedict Ogunwusi disclosed that the team came to NTDC on a familiarization tour and also to intimate the NTDC helmsman on happenings within the tourism sector in Oyo State while seeking ways of collaboration with the apex tourism outfit.

Head of Service, Alhaji Dabarako Mohammed who led the delegation from Kwara State Tourism Board to the NTDC office, Abuja, on his part, said the purpose of the visit was to solicit support from the NTDC towards exploring the tourism potentials of the state as this was in line with the interest of the present administration led by Alhaji Abdul Fatah Ahmed.

According to Dabarako, such attractions to likely benefit from an NTDC endorsement include the Pategi Boat Regatta which he said is coming on board at the end of April as several committees had previously been established to ensure this.

“Another attraction to benefit from the NTDC support is the Owu waterfalls believed to be the highest in west Africa while the Durbar will also be given due consideration in the renewed partnership between the Federal government and Kwara State,” he said.

Dabarako however noted that a major setback in the drive to kick start the Boat Regatta festival is the lack of funds stating that the pavilion which is used for the event is presently partially submerged in water and will require about N100 million to be fixed in other to douse fears especially during the raining season.

Responding Runsewe lauded the Boat Regatta festival as a tourism product promising total support for the team while revealing that since his appointment as the NTDC helmsman five years ago, the corporation supports over 60 festivals like, Argungu fishing festival, Igbo-Ukwu New Yam festival, Calabar carnival, Osun-Oshogbo festival inter alia.

He maintained that his agenda remains to have one common product for every state of the federation which will be sold internationally as is done in other climes while also appealing to the delegation to incorporate the cultural content of Kwara State into both the Boat Regatta and the Durbar festivals.

He further opined that for tourism to thrive in Kwara State, infrastructure must be put in place first before foreign investors and corporate investors can patronize by way of committing funds which will translate into major tourism gains for the State and Nigeria by extension.

He also advised that security should be given utmost importance by the organizers suggesting that those involved in the Regatta should be kitted with live jackets amongst other security measures to avoid fatality during the event.

The NTDC boss intimated that Nigeria now features in the “World Travel Atlas” courtesy of the efforts by NTDC just as he eulogized Kwara State for its cooperation with the federal government in the hotel registration exercise presently ongoing.

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