The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation(NTDC) has identified “Tour Nigeria” as a means of selling good potential about the Nigerian culture.
Speaking at the Jumia Travel Conference in Lagos, NTDC Director General, Mr. Folorunsho Coker, said that in order to find the latest trends in the culture and tourism sector, there is the need to engage relevant stakeholders in the value chain of tourism; and seek good ways of doing something that would develop the country.
Coker said, “If you don’t engage the stakeholders in the value chain of tourism, how do you know if you are doing something good or something bad? How do you find out what the latest trend is; and what are the problems, etc?”
The NTDC DG further emphasised, “As part of that program- austerity-that is, using what you have, whether it is a lot or little; but what you have and what you already have is what you’ll use; and you will have to get there and out of the economic crisis.
Coker said, So, what we are doing in NTDC and the tour Nigeria don’t change the Naira to dollar to buy ticket, don’t go and apply for visa and to pay for visa to go there, why roam your phone, which is consuming foreign exchange when you get there?
He urged tour within Nigeria, saying that, “it is it food you like, take a food. Is it music that you like take a music tour, whatever you do, there are many new media of cultural expression in Nigeria.
Tour Nigeria uses those medium for cultural expressions.
He further urged Nigerians to be responsible to the developmental growth of this country, saying, “We must all be responsible in terms of the development of our country; we must not just focus on the negative consistent thing and expect development. So, we are all responsible for the development of Nigeria.
Coker added, “Now, some of the roads are bad; in Nigeria, South Africa, America and London. Nigeria is not the only country we have bad roads, why do we focus on it? We have a lot of good roads that other West African countries do not have;
but we clamour so much on our bad roads; and people just assume that all our roads are bad. Consider talking about the good roads; while the bad roads are being fixed.
“Let us be partners, desire in developing Nigeria. Part of that is about reporting Nigeria in a responsible way; and as well ship the Nigerian story, mould it into something we can put out there; and not emphasising just the negative, let us talk positively.”
He was optimistic that the recent presidential order on the ease of doing business on the immigration, airport, etc, would further enhance partnership with the necessary sectors, so as to hopefully do joint venture with the relevant stakeholders.
He said,“We are looking at corporate governance and regulation; what are we doing well; and what are we not doing well; and we are trying to amend them to take cognizance of, ‘this is Nigeria today;’ and to be tally and relevant in the revolution in the next 10 and 20 years.
There’s a market for what we have; and we understand that the digital age in terms of marketing, is the new way of selling Nigeria.
“We are encouraging the stakeholders, especially in the digital platform, to better sell who we are. Financing is tough; whether we like it or not, the interest rates are tough;
so, we are looking at creating funds that can be used to intervene in positive tourism project to make life easy for the companies that are selling Nigeria.”
As parts of it efforts to use tour to drive domestic tourism, Coker expressed the need to create all-inclusive holidays, business or religious trips that would be easily accessible for tourists in the country.
Coker, described music, entertainment, fashion, cuisines, religion as part of good tourism assets the country is endowed with.
“Nigeria is endowed with such tourism assets and untapped potentials which can be developed for domestic consumption and exportation,
we need to give a new meaning to Tourism through a digital platform which will anchor a complete trip, usually including cost for accommodation, meals, ground transport, tour guide taxes in an all-inclusive trip at a fair price,” he said.
Speaking further, Coker stressed the need for all the stakeholders in the tourism industry to come together and sell a single package tour as it is done in Dubai, India, Kenya and other parts of the world.