01 March 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, has disclosed that the commission is collaborating with the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, NANTA, to create a tourism-based economy in the Niger Delta region.
NDDC to create tourism-based economy for Niger Delta
A statement issued by the Director, Corporate Affairs of NDDC, Mr. Ibitoye Abosede, quoted Ndoma-Egba as having made the commitment when members of the travel and tourism private sector body paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Senator Ndoma-Egba affirmed that tourism was a huge industry which had sustained the economies of many countries, adding that Nigeria must begin to engage the world on a different level.
He regretted that the Niger Delta narrative had been dominated by sad stories of environmental degradation, militancy and other negative attributes, adding part of the mandate of the Commission was to showcase the Niger Delta region to the rest of the world.
“Nigeria is blessed with several tourism assets. I think we can begin to develop a programme with NANTA to showcase the Niger Delta region for the purposes of creating a thriving tourism industry.
“Militancy is no longer as active as it was in the past, what we have now is a new kind of militancy for development because the region needs development very badly. We believe that development will pave way for tourism to flourish by creating the right environment for visitors to come to the region.
“We must begin to sell ourselves to the rest of the world; Nigeria is not about Boko Haram and robbery, there is a creative side of Nigeria that we must begin to emphasise.
“We owe ourselves the responsibility to market the lofty sides of our country. These days, it is very common to see Nigerian restaurants in other countries and the world is beginning to know the Nigerian cuisine. So, marketing our cuisine should be a deliberate policy,” the statement quoted Sen. Ndoma-Egba.
The further stated that similar impact was being made in the area of dress-making, which was also getting the attention of the entire world. “We can conquer the world through our cuisine and fashion,” the Chairman said.
Earlier, according to the statement the President of NANTA, Mr Bernard Bankole, said the association was eager to partner with the NDDC to create a sustainable rural-based tourism economy in which the Commission’s rural development interventions would be on display.
Bankole noted the absence of a facilitator to connect the gains of development powered by NDDC to benefit those who dwell in the rural areas beyond the physical presence of noticeable structures that need interpretation to add more value to the rural areas.
The NANTA President in the statement further submitted that partnering with NDDC would further give the rural population in the Niger Delta areas the needed opportunity to showcase their arts and crafts, history, agriculture and ecological tourism endowments.