By Sunday Ani
Stakeholders in the Nigerian tourism sector have recommended the application of digital tools and technologies for the development of the sector.
This was one of the aftermaths of a one-day stakeholders’ forum organised by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), in the South East, on Friday, November 26.
Themed, “Utilising digital tools for optimisation and destination marketing,” the meeting was targeted at charting a course for the recovery and acceleration of development in tourism and hospitality industry.
In a communique after the meeting, the stakeholders stressed that the global business ecosystem was constantly being swamped with disruptive digital tools that increasingly make living and business seamless and qualitative, adding that tourism entrepreneurs must adopt digital tools and technologies for wider reach.
“The world is currently in an era, where technology is the major fulcrum that creates momentum in the leisure travel space.
“Digital revolution has resulted in changes in the cultures of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
“Technology is changing the tourism market, increasing reach, changing the characteristics of tourism jobs and the way destinations are promoted, while also demanding new skills from tourism entrepreneurs.
“Businesses that rely on physical contact alone will not function optimally. Tourism marketers have to understand the trends in the digital marketing domain and be able to adopt the tools to remain competitive,” they said.
They noted that tourism sector has the capacity to generate sustainable revenues that would rival current earnings from crude oil, by closing the gap between technology driven and globally connected tourism businesses and traditional ones.
Part of the communique read: “Tourism businesses should adopt digital tools such as travel apps and digital marketing platforms among others to aid service delivery in the sector. Bite sized videos and images are quite effective for destination marketing.
“The influencer marketing has proven to be quite effective. Consumers trust an influencer more than traditional advertisement, so destination marketers should make use of influencers for destination marketing.
“We need to consider and deploy innovative solutions that are home grown, practical and tailor made for our specific environment and people.”
Stakeholders also agreed with the NTDC’s conviction that for Nigeria to become a tourism hub in Africa, it needs to develop the domestic tourism, which will, in turn, increase the country’s attraction to sponsors and investors.
They said: “The Tour Nigeria brand was created by the Corporation to drive domestic consumption of our tourism assets and commercialize tourism for increased revenue generation.
“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture remains committed to providing the enabling environment for all agencies to perform optimally towards boosting the tourism sector in Nigeria.
“There must be effective inter agency collaboration between the government and private sector practitioners for the industry to grow.”
However, they submitted that domestic tourism was six times larger than international tourism, and that it was the agreed opinion of all stakeholders at the forum that the use of technology in the tourism and hospitality ecosystem was vital to the sector’s development and recovery.