Posted by JUSTOURS
Tourism operators in the country have listed the problems they are having, saying it would have been different if the hotels across the country were classified and graded, an annual calendar of tourism activities created for publicity among other needs.
Some of them pointed out that a separate ministry of Tourism and Culture should be able to tackle the identified challenges.
Chairman, Institute of Hospitality, United Kingdom and Nigeria, Dr Wasiu Babalola, said if a separate ministry of tourism and culture was established, major policies would be created that would facilitate the growth of the sector.
On the other, some government officials gave the advice while others showed direction. The Director-General, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker, said the tourism industry must adopt new ways of doing tourism business considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tourism stakeholders spoke at a seminar organised by the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET) in Lagos, recently.
The ANJET Tourism Seminar 2020 with the theme titled ‘“Tourism and Rural Development” with Sub-theme: “Post Covid-19: Recovery strategies for the tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria” brought various key 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.
Babalola, who was the keynote speaker, maintained that the creation of the sole Ministry of Tourism and Culture would ensure proper preservation of the nation’s historical and cultural heritage.
”For tourism and culture sub-sectors to thrive better in this country, we need a separate ministry of tourism and culture. This will ensure absolute focus on the promotion and marketing of our historical and cultural heritage,” he said.
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, showcasing tourists’ attractions digitally to attract visitors should intensify efforts.
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,” he said.
In the same vein, the Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, 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 a need to diversify into niche products offering that cater for the circumstances the pandemic presented.
“Embracing digital technological options such as virtual strategies, online offerings to showcase and market destinations and experiences to stimulate demand and address a wider target audience, will be a crucial component of a future tourism recovery strategy for Nigeria.
“Some countries are already scaling up the designation of special tourism resorts or lodges as quarantine zones into post-COVID-19 retreat packages.
Kangiwa said it was essential to initiate strong marketing and promotional campaigns both locally and internationally, adding that promoting flexible services would be another strategic tool to attract potential customers.
“Hotels might need to offer flexible prices, cancellation policies, flexible work environment, all these would be beneficial in achieving long term sustainability of the hospitality business industry,” he said.
The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, represented by Mr Victor Omoniyi also stressed the importance of engaging the digital space in marketing tourism.
Despite the bickering, Organiser, AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market, Mr Ikechi Uko, urged stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries encourage collaborations to ensure money flows through the various value chains.
He also said stakeholders should ensure that all COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols were adhered to during physical meetings to guide against another spike in the country.
Lagos Tourism was on ground to give a lowdown what they were able to do in the post-COVID era. The state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf in her speech said its three theatres located in Epe, Igando and Badagry are now in full operation under public-private partnership management.
Akinbile-Yusuf, represented by Adamma Oni, Director of Tourism Promotion in the ministry, said that individuals willing to use the facilities would be obliged to do so as the state was committed to boosting domestic tourism.
Nov. 27 2020.