The Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET) has held first live event since the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The ANJET Tourism Seminar 2020 under the theme: ‘“Tourism and Rural Development” with Sub-theme: “Post Covid-19: Recovery strategies for the tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria” held in Lagos, brought various players, top government officials and stakeholders in the tourism sector to discuss challenges and opportunities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected travel and tourism around the world.
The keynote speaker, Dr Wasiu Babalola, Chairman, Institute of Hospitality, United Kingdom and Nigeria, advocated for the creation of sole ministry of tourism or culture to ensure proper preservation of nation’s historical and cultural heritage.
Babalola said this was important because attention had been shifted from the two sectors which happened to be the greatest employer of labour in the country.
He said if a separate ministry of tourism or culture was established, major policies would be created that would facilitate the growth of the sectors.
He advised the Federal Government to ensure that all hotels across the country were uniformly classified and create annual calendar of tourism activities for publicity.
”For tourism and culture sub-sectors to thrive better in this country, we need a separate ministry of tourism or culture, this will ensure absolute focus on the promotion and marketing of our historical and cultural heritages,” he said
Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), said the industry must adopt new ways of doing tourism business considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coker, represented by NTDC Lagos Office Coordinator, Mr Olurotimi Ayetan, said that tourism business would thrive better by exploring digital technology and other social media platforms to market the sector.
He said that for success in business transactions, efforts should be intensified by showcasing tourists’ attractions digitally to attract visitors.
The NTDC boss urged practitioners to intensify efforts at training themselves on the use of innovative technologies to execute businesses.
“Most business outfits need to review their rates or prices to encourage their lost customers and remain in business rather than close out rightly.
Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), also urged operators to digitalise their operations as many relied on digital connectivity and virtual promotional campaigns to boost tourism recovery.
Kangiwa, represented by Mrs. Chinyere Uche-Ibeabuchi, Lagos Office Coordinator, said there was need to diversify into niche product offerings that catered for the circumstances the pandemic presented.