By Dennis Agbo

The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has tasked stakeholders in the tourism industry to develop domestic tourism first if they want the sector to attract global attention.

The Director-General of NTDC, Mr Folorunsho Coker stated this on weekend at the South-East Tourism Stakeholders’ Forum in Enugu with the theme: “Utilizing Digital Tools for Optimization and Destination Marketing”.

Coker stated that NTDC under him was of the strong belief that “to become a tourism hub in Africa, we need to develop domestic tourism first. The development of domestic tourism will increase the country’s attraction to sponsors and investors.

He also tasked the tourism stakeholders to take advantage of digital tools such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Twitter to boost the marketing of tourism in the country.

Coker noted that technology had changed the tourism market, increasing reach and changing the characteristics of tourism jobs, insisting that the only way destinations are promoted, demands new skills from tourism entrepreneurs.

According to him, technology is the major fulcrum that creates momentum in the leisure-travel space and other tourism products.

He added that relying on physical contacts alone would not function optimally in the modern society as that would make them become redundant.

His words: “The digital revolution has resulted in changes in culture of production, distribution, consumption and blurring the divide among race, wealth and culture.

“It has increased global access and reach of content across the borders in a relatively short time with larger impacts and wider reach.

“Digital tools help to promote existing tourism assets such as music, films, fashion, sports, food and festivals,” Coker said.

Unlike in the past digital when tools like websites, email marketing and search engine optimizations for Google search were the major tools for deployed destination marketing, he said “today, plethora options that include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter have added.

“Therefore, we are all gathered here to collectively develop proactive and sustainable ideas that will properly organise the sectors and accelerate its development in the country and Southeast zone”.

Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Enugu State, Ugonna Ibe noted that there was a wide gap between technology-drive and globally connected tourism businesses as traditional ones were yet to adapt to digitalise business practices.

Ibe said Nigerians must key into high-tech digital activities to be able to match trending global digital technology, which had changed people’s way of living, doing business and travel.

“To compete globally, we must align ourselves to transformative digital technology and innovations,” Ibe said.

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