The domestic tourism gospel which called on Nigerians not to travel abroad for sightseeing always as the country has a lot of tourism sites but rather foreigners should be invited to see what is in here being branded by Dr (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo, Director – General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC is finally being embraced by those who believe in the entity called Nigeria.
For, while some foreign airlines are threatening to stop doing business in Nigeria because of what they described as harsh economic policies of the Federal government, Qatar Airways has distinguished itself by sustaining full operation in Nigeria without any threat of closing down, but in addition, signified its intention to collaborate with NTDC. It had also expressed its readiness to project, promote, sell Nigeria’s industry and encourage tourists from the middle East to visit 120 tourism sites in Nigeria .
In what is going to be the first Middle East – Nigeria tourism traffic boosting business code named: “Nigeria 120 Sites”, the NTDC has formed a strategic cultural tourism alliance with Qatar Airways which will involve the identification and enlistment of 120 unique tourism sites in Nigeria for the portal of Qatar Airways for subsequent marketing in the Middle East.
The first phase of the inauguration was kicked off on Friday, August 5, at 2nd floor of Ecobank building in Lagos, the head office of Qatar Airways, between the Director General, NTDC, Mrs Sally Mbanefo and Mr Ramadas Sivaram, Country Manager, Qatar Airways.
According to Mr Sivaram, “Qatar Airways holds Nigeria in high esteem. It is a great country which creates level playing ground for all companies or corporations to thrive and do business within its laws and statutes. The world is going through an economic recession caused by the price of oil. So at Qatar Airways, we don’t think shutting the Nigeria route is the best but nurturing other productive ways by which the economy can be stabilised. And that is why we decided to identify with Nigeria at this point in time and partner with NTDC headed by Mrs Sally Mbanefo” He pointed out that: “Our resolution to partner with NTDC is predicated largely on the patriotic passion with which Mrs Mbanefo has been promoting domestic tourism in Nigeria. We have read and we are impressed by her visit to tourism sites in 30 states of the federation and participating in various festivals. We have also watched and listened to her manner excellent delivery on the TV and read her various media interactions with her unique way of dressing which showcase Nigeria’s national colour, green and white. All these and others convinced us that she is an asset who we can deal and partner with in this project of identifying 120 tourism sites in Nigeria”
Mr Sivaram said that “for the aviation business to grow and expand, Airlines must think out of the box and embrace packages that will encourage a symbiotic and economically beneficial business between countries of business. This is what we are commencing in Nigeria with Sally”
In her response, Mrs Mbanefo commended Qatar Airways for “your altruistic business interest in Nigeria. This latest move of yours has distinguished and showcased your airways as one which has the interest of your country and Nigerians at heart. It shows that you are not in Nigeria only to make money but to perfect a relationship. And I am assuring you that Qatar Airways will be forever pleased for this decision.
Mrs Mbanefo further said: “We are going to inform all relevant authorities about this project and make it work to the glory of God and the two countries.”