By Sunday Ani
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker, has called on tourism entrepreneurs and stakeholders to embrace the use of technology for more mileage and penetration and to acquire adequate knowledge in the proficient use of digital platforms to promote and market the existing tourist sites and attractions in Nigeria.
He said the acquisition of such technology and digital platforms were in addition to ensuring effective service delivery and sustainable practices for the growth and protection of the tourism industry
Coker, who made the call at the 42nd World Tourism Day celebration, noted that the future of the tourism industry was in Nigeria, and urged operators to be prepared for the emerging opportunities and challenges, which he said, could only be surmounted through greater collaboration across sectors.
Speaking on the topic, “Rethinking tourism for a more sustainable world,” during the event, he reiterated the need to review the regulations guiding the sector’s operations and operators, standardise service delivery by both public and private sector partners, and deploy a strategic stakeholders’ approach to the development of sustainable tourism practices.
He described World Tourism Day as an opportunity for the NTDC to celebrate the many and varied accomplishments in the sector, particularly in its drive towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “This yearly event celebrated on September 27, has become a formidable platform for constructive engagement with all tourism stakeholders across the value chain, and in different places across the world,” he said.
He lamented that of all sectors of the economy, tourism took the worst blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that the incident had, in turn, highlighted the critical need to transform the industry as global tourism gradually recovers. “Worldwide, tourism has entered into a durable stage of recovery, and it is quite heart-warming to note that this year alone, international tourism has grown back to at least 60 per cent of its pre-pandemic level. According to estimates from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals almost tripled in the first seven months of 2022, as against the same period last year, and this reveals the strengthening of demand, as travel restrictions are lifted in many more countries; 86 at the last count,” she added.
The NTDC boss equally noted that the vibrant promotion of domestic tourism was the first step to resetting the tourism and hospitality industry in a post-pandemic era, where there are endless possibilities for the development of rural communities, where a lot of tourist sites are located.
He stated that the potentials of tourism were enormous and called on tourism stakeholders, as well as everyone at the base of the broad and diverse tourism pyramid to pause, reflect and rethink what should be done, and how it should be done.
“With over 147 million active Internet subscriptions and a teledensity of almost 97 per cent, we have a readymade and vast domestic market for the development of tourism locally.
“As we celebrate this 42nd edition of the World Tourism Day, this is within the frame of reflection on the urgency of building a practice that is environmentally sensitive and future compliant. The need for a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable tourism, has now forcefully come on the global agenda of governments, international organisations, businesses, and local communities; and we must all work together to mitigate the evident challenges and concerns, in a way that safeguards our planet. The future of tourism is here, and it depends on our collective senses of responsibility,” he submitted.