COVID-19: Stakeholders brainstorm on technology for domestic tourism

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Stakeholders have advocated for the use of digital technology to market domestic tourism and the hospitality industry in Nigeria to the rest of the world.


The stakeholders from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States converged on Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, south-south Nigeria to brainstorm on the way forward in the sector amid COVID-19.


In a remark, the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Folorunsho Coker noted that the sector was the worst hit since the advent of the coronavirus, noting “the Bureau of Statistics reported that Nigeria recorded a trade deficit of 7.38 trillion in year 2020. The highest we have recorded since 1981.”


Collective action

Coker stated that the purpose of the forum was to collectively develop proactive and sustainable ideas, which organize and accelerate the recovery of the tourism industry in the country and the south-south geo-political zone.


“As stakeholders, we need to consider and deploy innovative recovery solutions that are home grown and practical, tailor made for our specific environment and people. In this age of technology, the international tourism industry has adopted a third ‘T’ (Technology) to drive Travel and Tourism,” stated the Director General.


According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique opportunity for mankind’s advancement by accelerating the deployment of disruptive technologies to make work and living easier.


He said, “the development of digital tools and smart apps are already transforming the tourism value chain. Popular tech apps like Uber, AirBnB, Bolt, Aura, and Instagram’s digital tourism pages are changing old narratives and creating new user-friendly experiences for intending travelers and tourists.”


The tourism boss further disclosed that the NTDC was at the forefront of marketing domestic tourism sites through collaboration with technology giants and has created a global online audience interested in Nigeria and its cultural treasures.


Coker also proposed that for the domestic tourism industry to develop further and attract foreign tourists, there is need to review current tourism laws and urged the participants to make effective contributions.


“We believe that developing our domestic tourism market is key to attracting foreign tourists. We also believe that it can only be achieved when the tourism laws are reviewed, standard unified, manpower properly trained, stakeholders collaborate, investments attracted and proper marketing and promotion done,” Coker stated.


Timely deliberation

In a keynote, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Development, Eric Anderson commended the NTDC for organizing the forum as part of efforts to revamp the industry.

Anderson described the theme, “the Use of Digital Technology to Revamp the Tourism and Hospitality Industry amid COVID-19 and Security Challenges in Nigeria” as apt noting “in 2020, 62 million jobs were lost across the sector globally.”


He urged the stakeholders to “embrace the use of digital technology to enable players in the industry revamp the tourism and hospital industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic and security challenges in Nigeria.”


There were goodwill messages from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. Adoara Ayanwutaku and the Director of the Akwa Ibom Tourism Development Company, Ubong Ekpe.


Highlight of the event was the presentation of certificates to hotels and other operators in the hospitality sector for adhering to standards.



Dominica Nwabufo









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