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Nigeria Corruption

Verdict on infighting within Nigeria tourism: One must go

Lucky Onoriode George  Nov 16, 2008

LONDON (eTN) - The well over 20 Nigerian journalists from tourism, aviation and the news room that attended the just concluded World Travel Market (WTM). They were came up with definite verdict: the presence of the present Nigerian Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Minister Prince Adetokunbo Kayode and Otumba Segun Runsewe, director general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), apex tourism agency under the ministry can no longer operate as a team.

The journalists came to this conclusion following the disjointed nature of Nigeria’s performance that was largely attributed to the feud between the minister and the NTDC boss which has been ongoing for months now.

The infighting that has not been resolved by the Nigerian government reared its ugly head at WTM on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 here in London when the minister was in London for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to attend the body’s ministers’ meeting in the same hall without a visit to the Nigerian stand that is just a three minutes walk away from the meeting venue.

With the journalists fully aware of the running battle between the minister and the NTDC boss, they agreed unanimously that one of them must give way if Nigeria’s tourism promotion and marketing is actually targeting tourism investment and encouraging tourist to visit Nigeria.

One of the journalists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Because of the quarrel, the ministry and the NTDC have once again failed the country in ensuring a well packaged outing here at the WTM.”

“Nigeria stand lacks world class materials, professionals and the most crucial, the private sector presence,” the journalist observed.

Apart from Eko Hotel and Suites, no any known name in the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria was at WTM.

Meanwhile, for the first time in many years, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, states among others did not come for the event, making it the worst of NTDC’s outing since Otunba Segun Runsewe became the director general of the tourism agency.

However, he said Nigeria is safe for foreign tourists and investors to do business.
He noted jokingly that the bad image being peddled about Nigeria as unsafe was the handiwork of people he described as competitors who are afraid of Nigeria's rising profile internationally.

The NTDC assured the international community that Nigeria has strong tourism components in the areas of business and conference tourism, culture, sports, entertainment and eco- tourism, which are of international standards and could compete with any other in the world.

"Nigeria is one of the safest place in the world. We have refused to be weakened. Nigeria does not have only one component, but components to sell to the world. If you [foreigners] go there, you will find out that the stories you are reading about Nigeria not being safe are deliberate," Runsewe said.

Also attending the event is the House of Representatives chairman on Culture and Tourism Committee, KGB Oguaka who attended the event for the very first time. He hinted that the house is working on legislation that would promote tourism.

Such legislation, according to Oguaka, are those that have to do with standardization in the tourism industry, especially as it concerns tour operators, conservation, code of ethics and a new tourism development master-plan which he said would come on board soon.

Verdict on infighting within Nigeria tourism: One must go
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