The Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr Folorunsho Coker, has advocated for special incentives to rebound the tourism sector post COVID-19 pandemic.
Coker listed such incentives as upscaled public services, ease on travel restrictions and taxes.
He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
According to him, set down rules such as reopening of borders responsibly will help the tourism sector rebound.
He said that introducing and adapting actionable border procedures in line with public health evidence-based risk assessment would help put the sector back on track.
He added that revising travel restrictions and protocols regularly was imperative in revamping the sector and ensure they remained proportionate to the public health risk assessment.
Coker also emphasised the need to enhance the use of technology for safe, seamless and touch-less travel.
According to him, provision of reliable, consistent and easy to access information on travel restrictions and protocols to the private sector and travelers are measures that will also help tourism rebound.
He further stated defining roles and responsibilities for governments, the private sector and travelers were measures, if put in place, would help tourism sector thrive post COVID-19.
Coker also urged governments and regional blocks to advance travel facilitation toward e-visa and visa on arrival as well as no visa policies and remove visa cost temporarily to stimulate demand.
“Harmonising travel and tourism related health protocols and procedures at global level, ensuring regional and international coordination in the re-opening of borders is important for sustainability.
“Implement relevant ICAO International Standards and recommended Practices (Annex 9 – Facilitation) and specifications (Doc 9303) on travel documents to ensure harmonisation and interoperability for passenger data exchange.
“Ensure coordination of common policies among tourism, health, interior and transport authorities.
“Set up visitors’ tracing apps and work toward their international interoperability,” he urged.
Coker further recommended the adoption of national policies that supported the digital transformation of destinations, companies, employees and job seekers as other measures to help tourism excel in the society.
He, therefore, called for support to companies, to help accelerate digital transformation and embrace new profiles such as cyber-security, big data analysis and data scientists for effective service delivery.
He added that support to job seekers with new skills, new products, marketing and market intelligence would also help cushion the effect on tourism sector.
The NTDC boss also said that providing better training and implementing online training to skill up staff in service delivery, back office, technology, languages and safety measures were other ways to scale up the sector.
“Provide free online training for those most affected in partnership with universities, technical companies and other educational and training institutions.
“Promote online free training such as the UNWTO Online Academy and support the development and marketing of courses in multiple languages,” he said.
Coker however advocated for consolidated national and global innovation ecosystem to foster opportunities for major corporations to work with start-ups in making new processes easier, quicker to implement and more efficient.
He also stressed the need to promote national challenges to encourage and award start-ups and entrepreneurs to propose innovative solutions in business models, communications and experiences.
He encouraged investments in the digital transformation for better destinations’ planning and management for a stronger service delivery.
He, however, noted that accelerating the transition toward a circular economy in the tourism value chain would also help improve the sector.
Coker, therefore, called for building of a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector through added value, better data evidence based tourism measurement and monitoring systems to help boost the industry. (NAN)