By Jimoh Babatunde
The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Segun Runsewe, has said that deep measures on COVID-19 testing and certification process were needed to support the tourism sector in 2021.
Runsewe said that the reality of the new wave of the pandemic had created additional burden for the tourism industry, such that the players do not know how to survive in 2021.
He said that inbound travels across board and partial lockdown affecting outdoor recreation, hospitality businesses, are having impact on jobs and would eventually have a devastating effect in the industry.
Runsewe said that there was a need to reassure the cultural tourism economy to curb depression and continued job losses for the industry that has been known to champion employment and rural development.
“ We certainly welcome the news of vaccination to help curb the spread of the pandemic.
“We must give the Nigerian tourism and culture sector some form of protection and confidence to get hold of a strategic survival plan through faster COVID-19 testing response and certification.
“The industry must hold its breath in 2021 and show grit,” he said.
The NCAC DG said he believed that putting in place effective monitoring and compliance with COVID-19 protocols, supported by faster COVID-19 testing ecosystem and certification, could boost confidence in the troubled tourism economy.
He noted that it was necessary to strengthen the capacity of service providers, create more tourism jobs, as against predicted losses inspired by COVID-19, and expand existing pillars of national integration and love for our history and heritage.
“ The fear of another strain of the pandemic is very alarming, but we must respond with a chain of confidence-building processes, carefully driven through one on one engagement with cultural tourism practitioners on creating additional domestic travels.