By Benson Ezugwu
The Director-General (D-G), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr Folorunsho Coker says there is the need for stakeholders in the Tourism industry to collaborate to promote growth of the sector.
Coker said this at the opening of the South South Tourism Stakeholders Forum in Calabar on Thursday.
The theme of the forum is “Use of Digital Technology to Revamp the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Amid COVID-19 and Security Challenges in Nigeria”.
Coker said that the time had come for actors in the tourism and hospitality industry to stop competiing with one another and embrace collaboration to move the industry forward.
“This is the season of collaboration not the season of competition. In this season of technological advanencement, stakeholders should collaborate rather than compete, ” he said.
He observed that there was a disconnect in the tourism policies between the Federal, States and Local Governments in terms of participation in tourism development.
He attributed the gap to tourism laws, and stressed the need for a new legal framework for the sector.
“Tourism begins at the Local Government, so, we need active participation of the Local Governments for tourism to thrive, ” he said.
He urged tourism stakeholders to embark on regular training of their staff in view of the new trend in the industry occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr Adoara Ayanwutaku said the forum was timely in view of the damage done to the tourism sector by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ayanwutaku, represented by Mrs Sani Sodangi, Deputy Director, Domestic and Eco-Tourism, Promotion and Control said the forum would provide opportunity to stakeholders to make postulations on the way forward.
According to her, the theme is apt.
She pledged the ministry’s readiness to provide the enabling environment for all agencies “to perform optimally.”
In his keynote address, Mr Eric Anderson, the Commissioner for Tourism and Culture in Cross River, said that in spite of the setback brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry in Nigeria was still vibrant.
According to him, the industry has come to terms with the adaptation to product and service enhancing technologies, including online transport solution, and destination marketing on social media among others. (NAN)