Tourism value chain a trillion-dollar industry, says NTDA DG

The Director – General (DG), Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA), Folorunso Coker has said that globally, the tourism value chain that interconnects many sub-sectors, by providing employment for millions of people and serving as a major contributor to National GDPs, but regretted that Africa only accounts for 4% of the market.

Coker said this at his welcome address to the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Ms Lola Ade John, titled, “Nigerian Tourism on the Cusp of Global Reckoning,”

According to him, there is need for all stakeholders in the industry to awaken to their responsibilities and collaboratively work towards the growth of the sector, even as he informed that the value chain of Nigeria’s tourism economy is vast.

He however stated that from the hospitality sector to aviation and transportation, destination management, souvenir production, event packaging, carnivals, festivals and cultural promotions, among others, the opportunities of leveraging this key growth sector to create jobs, shore up revenue and add to the nation’s GDP are limitless.

“As administrators, my team and I strongly believe 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. They will, in turn, develop the industry, develop our tourism assets, leading to further infrastructural development that will let loose the huge potentials of the tourism industry

“Certainly, the new Ministry of Tourism offers the required growth structure for promoting the country as a destination of choice for many across the world, particularly as the demand for Nigerian tourism is strengthening and gearing up to surpass the 2019 pre-COVID levels, when international tourist arrivals accounted for over 2.2 million people, with receipts in excess of $1.4 billion.

“Across the world, tourism has recovered by 80% of its value, post-COVID, while Africa has recovered by as much as 88%. The opportunities for domestic growth of the sector are therefore very apparent.

There is equally now hope that domestic tourism, which is six times larger than international tourism, and constitutes more than 70% of tourism markets, will witness the collaborative drive that it requires from all stakeholders and this will result in the increase of inbound tourism.This will be good for the development of Nigeria’s rural communities, where a lot of the tourist sites are located,” he stated.

Calling for the addressing of several challenges to fully realise Nigeria’s tourism potential, he noted the importance of infrastructural development as crucial, with regard to improvements to transportation networks, accommodations and tourist facilities. According to him, Public-private partnerships can play a vital role in attracting investment and expertise.

Reiterating on the importance of tourism to the economic development, he said: “In addition, we must prioritise the safety and security of tourists through effective security measures and proactive risk management strategies. By building trust and confidence, we can assuage concerns and create a welcoming environment for visitors.

“Some quick ideas that come to mind for prompt intervention and growth of tourism in Nigeria include:

Commissioning of a National Tourism Development Master Plan

For coordinated growth of the sector, there is need to inaugurate a National Tourism Development Master Plan in line with the National Development Plan 2021–2025 that fits with government’s long-term aspiration, as encapsulated in the Nigeria Agenda 2050 for the measurable and coordinated growth of the sector.”

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