Thursday, 26 August 2021

NTDC Boss Forecasts Post-pandemic Economic Boom, says technology is key NTDC seeks ways to Drive Domestic Tourism using Technology

L-R: Urdu John Atsu, Managing Director Cross Tourism  Bureau, Mr. Folorunsho folly, DG ( NTDC), Hajiya  Halima Sodangi, representing the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Eric Anderson, Commissioner for Culture andd Tourism Development, Cross River State during the South-South Stakeholder meeting in Calabar.

Ukorebi Esien | 27 August 2021 

It is no news that the tourism sector is one of the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which ravaged the world in 2020 causing many businesses to fold. In what would be described as a glimpse of hope, the Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Commission, Mr. Folorunsho Coker has assured industry players of what he described as "a post Covid-19 economic boom" and the tourism sector will be the biggest beneficiary, therefore he called on players in the industry to start engaging Technology so as to revamp the sector and cash in on the boom so as to survive the effect of the pandemic.

Speaking at a one day Stakeholders Engagement Forum for the South-South region of Nigeria held in Calabar, the DG, described technology as a veritable tool that will boost domestic tourism of any nation. Stating that domestic tourism is six times bigger than International Tourism. He therefore, called for a review and unification of Tourism laws and standards, while asking participants to stimulate discussions on how best to harness digital technologies to promote tourism assets in Nigeria. 

"We believe that developing our domestic tourism market is key to attracting foreign tourists. We need to grow what we have before it can be attractive for tourists and investors. We also believe that it can only be achieved when the tourism laws are reviewed, standards unified, manpower properly trained, stakeholders collaborate, investments are attracted, and proper marketing and promotion done."

Mr. Coker argued that tourism remains a critical component in the development agenda of Nigeria for its ability to generate employment opportunities for both skilled, unskilled and semiskilled, calling it a powerful and beneficial agent of economic and social change. He also informed that the international tourism industry has adopted a third "T" (Technology) to drive "Travel and Tourism. 

Mr. Folorunsho Coker, DG Nigerian Tourism Development Commission 

Cooker's address reads in part:

"With the success of the protocols of safety and the coming of vaccines and other novel therapies that are lifting the climate of fear that the coronavirus has cast across the globe, we are gradually closing in to reap a bountiful harvest from digitalising the wonders of the Nigerian world. This will be in terms of motivating a huge volume of physical visits, as our planet makes greater strides towards recovery and heals. There will be a post pandemic economic boom and tourism will be at its crest. It will be packaged, domestic and Nigerian for Nigerians.

"Domestic Tourism is six times bigger than international Tourism, hence, Tour Nigeria™, and the economic revival which it is set on becoming a part of, signposts a healing for the country, our ways of life, destinations and livelihoods." He noted. 

"The development of digital tools and smart apps continue to disrupt and drive change in the tourism sector in recent times and these technological advancements are already transforming the tourism value chain. Popular disruptive tech apps like Uber, AirBnB, Bolt, Aura, and Instagram's digital tourism pages are changing old narratives and creating new user-friendly experiences for intending travellers and tourists."

Commissioner of Culture and Tourism Development in Cross River State, Hon. Eric Anderson while delivering his keynote address said although the sector is at the center of the heat of the pandemic, its amazing how resilient and creative industry players have become thus necessitating a shift in the industry's operations. He therefore called on players to embrace the use of digital technology to enable a revamp of the tourism and hospitality industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic and security challenges in Nigeria.

While presenting his paper, Mr. Ini-Obong Michael Akpabio, Chairman, Hotels Management and Tourism Board emphasized on the need for government to put some basic amenities in place to support the growth of domestic tourism. According to him the provision of good road networks, constant power supply, good internet systems, adequate security, encouragement of the ICT sector to produce sector specific applications are all needed to drive domestic tourism in Nigeria. While the 1992 NTDC laws be reviewed to incorporate laws guiding the use of technologies in the sector. 

Highpoint of the Forum was the Presentation of a communique which among other things highlighted the need for government to investment more in infrastructure development to aid the digital revolution as well as the need for a deliberate and intentional focus on identification, development and upgrading of  tourist sites through, funding of researches. 

The event which gathered stakeholders from the industry from the South-South region of the country will climax today with the Calabar edition of Nigerian Flavours holding at the Marina Resorts, Calabar. 

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