By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
The Director General, DG, of the National Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Mr. Foluronsho Coker, has charged operators of tourism/hospitality sector not to rely on the analog way of doing business in the tourism sector, but resort to the deployment of digital technology to revamp the sector, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A communique issued at the end of a one-day stakeholders forum, which took place in Calabar, to brainstorm on issues that can take the industry forward, and make available to our news desk in Calabar, advocated for the use of digital platforms like Facebook, Google and Wikimedia in doing business in the sector, after the nation was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The communiqué stated that use of Facebook, Google and Wikimedia by players of the industry can help to connect easily with clients outside the shores of Nigeria and break even easily, rather than depend on anolog way of doing business.
The stakeholders maintained that the tourism/hospitality sector has contributed N7 billion, amounting to 4.4 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in the last two years, stressing that the figure as at 2019 is sufficient baseline for ascending socio-economic growth.
Part of the communique reads, “It has contributed about N7 billion amounting to 4.4 per cent to GDP as at 2019 and is a sufficient baseline for ascending socio-economic growth.”
The communique, which dwelled on the theme of the stakeholders forum, ‘The Use of Digital Technology To Revamp Tourism and Hospitality Industry Amid COVID-19 and Security Challenges In Nigeria,’ emphasized much on the use of digital platforms in doing business in the sector.
Stakeholders called on the government at all levels to provide adequate, accessible and interest friendly funding for the industry, calling for the establishment of Tourism Development Fund, TDF, to make life easy for operators of the industry.
The stakeholders canvassed for the provision of an enabling environment for improved synergy amongst stakeholders in the tourism/hospitality industry, stressing that with synergy, a lot can be achieved.
It further stated, “That there is need for a deliberate and intentional focus on identification, development and upgrading of our tourist sites. To this end, funding for research is key.
“That there is need for a review of all Tourism Master plans, laws and regulations to address the new normal.”
Charging the government and stakeholders to change the narratives by making use of modern business models/approaches in running tourism business rather than depending on old fashioned/analog method of doing business, the communique further stated, “That there is need for government to invest more in infrastructure development to aid the digital revolution.
“The pandemic has left us with workable solutions and tremendous benefits, if we embrace and deploy technology to drive tourism and hospitality growth.
“Domestic tourism is six times larger than international tourism and 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.”