Mbanefo to prioritize domestic tourism development

Posted: May 30, 2013 in travel & tourism

sally mbanefoNewly-appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, has assured of transforming Nigeria’s domestic tourism industry, as she promised to give the sector high priority under her tenure.

In her early meetings with the management and staff of the corporation since her resumption two weeks ago the new NTDC chief outlined her focus to be the development of inbound tourism as she noted that ‘before we can successfully sell Nigerian tourism brand to the outside world we must address the domestic market potentials, secure the buy-in and confidence of Nigerians in the sector and get Nigerians to be proud of their tourism heritage and industry.’

The development of the domestic tourism would also entail other core mandates which include job creation, poverty alleviation and revenue generation.

The critical focus of the meetings were on development of the Tourism Value Chain across the country to realise the objectives for which the Corporation was set up as well as meeting the core mandate of the supervising ministry of tourism.

Programmes of the new NTDC, according to sources in the corporation, shall be determined and executed in line with the mission of the Tourism Ministry which is engaging with stakeholders to reinvent and reposition Nigerian Tourism sector for the emergence of an integrated, vibrant, globally competitive, skilled, professional, private sector-driven industry through strategic international corporation, investment promotion and a strong regulatory and corporative inter-governmental environment that generates employment and alleviates poverty for sustainable national economic advantage.

In this connection the new DG was said to have indicated that NTDC, working in close partnership with other parastatals shall be implementing the Tourism Master Plan geared towards the promotion of Nigeria’s rich tourism potentials through identification, development and marketing of the diverse tourism opportunities.

In addition and in line with the core-mandate of the supervising Ministry, the new NTDC shall be active in promoting tourism as a foreign exchange earner, income re- distributor, major revenue earner to the federal government, major employer of labour as well as a catalyst for rural development and poverty reduction.

Key officials of the NTDC expressed optimism that the new DG was bringing her over 26 years private sector experience to bear in delivering excellent results in the various functional areas of the corporation.

Mbanefo has wide range managerial experience in both national and multinational corporations most of which were at top executive level, spanning banking and finance, oil and gas, manufacturing as well as not-for-profit organizations. Some of the organizations include Keystone Bank Ltd (former Bank PHB) where she was an Executive Director, Allied Energy Plc where she was Group Executive Director, Coca-Cola (Nigeria & Equatorial Africa) where she was Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc (a subsidiary of Lafarge SA, one of the world’s leading cement multinationals) where she was General Manager.

The visibly excited staff who were at the various meetings expressed happiness with her focus on some key areas where the Corporation has not been doing well such as Public Private Partnerships (PPP) as well as collaboration with other parastatals and agencies of the ministry in the development of the country’s tourism potentials.

The new DG was also said to have indicated interest in poverty alleviation and job creation through the activities of the new NTDC such as encouraging the establishment and running of tourism enterprises by the poor and ensuring that proceeds and profits from tourism benefits the poor.

Her programmes, according to NTDC sources, would also ensure that investments in tourism infrastructure benefit the poor in the locality where they are sited while empowerment of women, youths and the underprivileged through tourism entrepreneurship would receive high priority.

Perhaps what may have been a key content of the new DG’s communication with the management and staff of the Corporation was on staff development and motivation.

Apparently, sensing the low morale presently pervading the NTDC, Mbanefo indicated that a new lease of life would be injected in training, remuneration and career upliftment across board. She had noted that a boost in the moral of the staff would go a long way in getting them meet the expectations of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke.

Earlier she had expressed utmost confidence in the programmes and plans of the minister for Nigeria’s tourism sector and said that NTDC would be committed to achieving the set goals. She said that the minister has properly interpreted and adapted the overall transformation agenda of the government of President Goodluck Jonathan as it relates to tourism sector of the economy.

In her formal address to the management and staff of the NTDC, Mbanefo noted that the vision of the NTDC shall be interpreted in line with that of the ministry which is to reposition Nigeria as the preferred tourism destination in sub-Saharan Africa offering diverse world class tourism products geared towards contributing 10 per cent of the GDP through a transformation driven policy.

She also indicated that the new NTDC shall be active in promoting advocacy and public enlightenment for the tourism industry to get Nigerians to appreciate and patronize the beautiful natural endowments God has given the country.

Mbanefo’s messages also dwelt heavily on the need for accountability, discipline and integrity as the watchword of the new NTDC adding that she operates an open door management style that seeks to ensure free flow of communication that would enable a team spirit.

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