Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), says the organisation has added arts and crafts to its numerous products to market the nation’s tourism potential.
Runsewe said on Tuesday in Lagos that the corporation believed that arts and crafts would create more jobs and boost the nation’s economy.
According to him, the country has some comparative advantage in arts and crafts which it could use to boost its tourism sector.
“The global tourism destination is Africa and we have to position the sector very well to take its place.
“We have the potential and authentic tourism attractions that most foreign tourists are looking for,’’ he said.
Runsewe said that NTDC staff in the states had been educated to sensitise operators of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on the need to create awareness for their products.
“We discovered that some of the arts and crafts we showcased during local and foreign tourism expos had attracted foreign business partners.
“Some of the SME operators’ products were the most sort after during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the operators now have business partners in three countries,” he said.
Runsewe said that the corporation had also taken some tour operators to foreign tourism exhibitions to see how other tour operators package their tourism potential.
According to Runsewe, the aim is to establish a relationship between our tour operators and their counterparts in foreign countries.
“This is very necessary so that our local operators can package local clients for their partners abroad and vice versa,” he said.
Runsewe, speaking on the Nigeria’s target as the tour season picks up, said the corporation had attracted many contacts from some countries that wanted to visit Nigeria.
“The tour operators are handling it. The truth of the matter is that we do not have accurate instrument for gathering data on tour arrivals, but there is a huge number of arrivals,” he said.
He recalled that many Chinese tourists visited Nigeria recently, while another batch is been expected from Japan and China.
“The fastest way to attract tourists is when you satisfy the tourists who will in turn spread the good news,” he said.
He said that the fresh initiatives would be part of the country’s attractions at the international tourism fair scheduled for January in Spain.
“The fair is one of the most important fair in the world where tourism professionals define their working guidelines, strategies and business alliances to re_enforce the industry.
“It will also create the opportunity for tourism promoters, tour operators, hoteliers, travel agents to showcase their products,” Runsewe said.