Thursday, 26 August 2021

Eric Anderson harps on use of Tech to Revamp Tourism, as Stakeholders Present 10 point Communique


Ukorebi Esien | 27 August 2021 



The Cross River State State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Development, Obol Eric Anderson has called on stakeholders in the Tourism sector to embrace the use of Digital Technology in order to revamp the tourism sector which has been grounded by the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. 


Anderson made this known yesterday in Calabar while presenting a keynote address during the South-South Tourism Stakeholders Engagement Forum held in Calabar, the state Capital. He said the sector being the most hit by the raving world pandemic, Covid-19 must look for a way to survive and going technological is key. 


Eric informed that the use of digital technologies in the Tourism sector has opened up opportunities for Nigerian players to participate in a global tourism market, stating that it was necessary for the sector to fully embrace technology in order to revamp tourism in Nigeria. 

His speech reads in part:

"In 2020, 62 million jobs were lost across the sector globally and until the sector experiences a full recovery, the likelihood of more job losses may still be looming. 
It is therefore imperative to recreate the sector deliberate for a viable outcome.
 
Accordingly, the Nigeria Tourism Sector is not laid back but coming to grips with the adaptation to product and service enhancing technologies such as online transport solution (bolt, online ticketing, etc), destination marketing on social media catalogs (Instagram etc) and others.

I therefore, urge us to embrace the use of digital technology to enable us revamp the tourism and hospitality industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic and security challenges in Nigeria."

The Forum which attracted major players in the Tourism industry across the South Southern region of Nigeria was aimed at fostering new frontiers to aid Tourism Development in Nigeria amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. 

To achieve this purpose a 10 point communique was developed and presented at the end of the Forum. 

Below is a draft of the communique:


DRAFT COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE ONE DAY STAKEHOLDERS FORUM WITH THE THEME: THE USE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TO REVAMP TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY AMID COVID – 19 AND SECURITY CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA

DATE: 26TH AUGUST 2021

PREAMBLE:

From 2020, the world experienced a setback in the Hospitality and Tourism industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Tourism Industry that predominately relied on the physical movement of people for the purpose of leisure, business, sports or other reasons became the worse hit by the pandemic, resulting in an estimated $2.7 Trillion loss in revenue and over 50 million jobs lost in the industry.

The advent of the pandemic does not signal an end but rather an opportunity to reinvent tourism through existing digital channels and  other home grown Tech apps such as Aura, Hotels.ng e.t.c.
The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation organized a South-South Stakeholders Forum with the Theme:-  The use of digital Technology to revamp the Tourism and Hospitality Industry amidst Covid-19 and Security challenges in Nigeria to chart a way forward for the recovery and accelerated development of the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria.


WAY FORWARD
After extensive discussions with Stakeholders in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the following resolutions were reached:

1. Earlier, Tourism was premised on an analogue experience, but now, it has become a necessity to adopt Technology to drive Travel and Tourism. 

2. NTDC has taken a bold step to collaborate with digital platforms like Facebook, Google and Wikimedia. It is highly recommended that other stakeholders should follow suit and collaborate.

3. That domestic tourism is by far more beneficial to the country than international tourism.  It contributed about 7billion Naira amounting to 4.4% contribution to GDP as at 2019 and is a sufficient baseline for ascending socio-economic growth.

4. That all Stakeholders in the Industry should as a matter of urgency embrace technology to aid their businesses.

5. That deliberate attempts should be made by government to provide adequate, accessible and interest friendly funding for the industry such as the establishment of the Tourism Development Fund (TDF). 

6. That Government should create an enabling environment for improved synergy amongst the various stakeholders in the tourism industry

7. That there is need for a deliberate and intentional focus on identification, development and upgrading of our tourist sites.  To this end, funding for research is key.

8. That there is need for a review of all Tourism Master plans, laws and regulations to address the new normal.

9. That Stakeholders and Government at all levels (State and Local Government) should change our narrative by adopting innovative business model approaches to the running of sustainable tourism.


10. That there is need for government to investment more in infrastructure development to aid the digital revolution.

 CONCLUSION
In conclusion, the pandemic has left us, with workable solutions and tremendous benefits if we embrace and deploy technology to drive tourism and hospitality growth. Domestic Tourism is six times larger than international tourism and it was the agreed opinion of all stakeholders at the forum that the use of technology in the tourism and hospitality ecosystem was vital to the sector's development and recovery.

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