THE present management at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), under the leadership of Mrs Sally Mbanefo has been described as a purposeful team destined lead Nigerian tourism sector aright.
The Executive Chairman, Nigeria-Turkey Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dr Eze Eche Hyacinth made this observation when he led a delegation of his association on a business visit to the Headquarters of NTDC, Area 1 , Abuja
Dr Hyacinth commended Mrs Mbanefo for “ carving out the domestic vision which does not only tallies with the expectation of the people, but squarely fits into one of the goals of his association which prompted the visit and the proposal for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the vision with NTDC.”
He revealed that the Nigeria – Turkey Chambers of Commerce and Industry “Has set upon itself the task of promoting domestic tourism and trading activities between the two countries for mutual benefits.
Hence the need for a synergy of purpose between the association and NTDC”.
Mrs Mbanefo in her response commended the Chambers for keying into the domestic tourism vision of the corporation which she said would not only promote the appreciation of tourism sites in Nigeria, but called the attention of governments for their development.
She said the MOU would not only encourage bi- lateral cultural and tourism relationship between the two countries, but also pave way for economic and social integration.
Mrs Mbanefo said “Our mission at NTDC is to promote, showcase and facilitate development of our tourism assets. We are glad to find in you a willing, worthy and ready partner in the lovable efforts at selling Nigerian tourism potentialities to the world. “
Also, the corporation has flagged off a nationwide inspection of hotels and other tourism enterprises beginning with the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and its environs.
In a release made available by the Director General in her office, Abuja, the NTDC boss said, “the essence is to assess the standards and quality of hospitality outfits in terms of service delivery. She observed that inspection of hotels is an oversight function of the NTDC as the apex hospitality outfit in Nigeria charged with the responsibility of ensuring efficient and effective services for all tourists both domestic and foreign.
Mrs Mbanefo added that the exercise will avail the Federal Government the opportunity to also ensure that facilities and operations of hospitality and other tourism establishments conform to international best standards noting that hotel practices across the globe are the same and are rated based on internationally acceptable indicators.
She explained that the inspectorate is meant to be a watchdog on Hospitality & Tourism Enterprises (HTEs) with the aim of ensuring and sustaining standards as the NTDC will use the inspectorate to advise, guide and /or sanction defaulters accordingly.
She said tactics known in banking as “mystery shopping” have been used to catch the law breakers.
Speaking with Mrs Rae-Omoh, the Director, Hospitality and Travel Trade Department (HTT) and Mr Ody
Anumba who heads the Inspectorate Division, they informed the press that investigations so far revealed that a good number of hotels are operating secretly and below globally set standards. Also, some fake tourism enterprises that specialise in defrauding the unsuspecting public in the guise of packaging foreign tours for them are in existence all over the country. It is the aim of the Inspectorate to ensure that such outfits are exposed and have their operators prosecuted accordingly.
It would be recalled that on assumption of duty last year, Mrs Mbanefo promised to grow the Tourism Value Chain as part of her three-fold strategic imperatives. It is expected that the mandate given to the Inspectorate will further complement the drive to ensure a viable hospitality industry.