The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) on Saturday called for intensified collaborations of operators in the tourism value-chain.
The two bodies said the collaboration had become necessary at a time like now for the speedy recovery of the tourism, due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
The National President of NANTA, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, said it was time for practitioners in all aspects of the tourism industry to unanimously coordinate tourism activities to revive the nation’s economy.
She said the initiative would involve practitioners such as musicians, restauranteurs, artistes, tour operators, travel agents, tour guides as well as visual and performing artists.
According to her, tourism cuts across all facets of life, ranging from agro, cultural, medical and educational tourism.
“The pandemic has happened but we must forge, ahead by taking the bull by the horn and not start crying over spilled milk.
“We can have tours arranged locally with some other packages like film show, night life exploration and other activities capable of attracting tourists and this can only be possible when tourism practitioners collaborate and work unanimously.
“For the industry to pick up speedily, collaboration is the way forward. Travel agents, tour operators and cultural outfits can’t do it alone.”
Akporaiye advised travel agents to diversify from mere travel ticket sales to work as cargo agents, charter agents and to engage in farm tours and youth exchange programmes.
She stressed the need to promote the nation’s culture, advising Nigerians to explore local content in terms of tourism offerings.
“As a professional body, we have started organising some collaborations with cargo and charter companies so that we can assist our members to get back to business as travels have been totally cancelled.
“Operators can also organise farm tours for local tourists to see how small farms or fish ponds are operated. This will also serve as a means of education.
“Diversification is necessary at this critical period that is one of the lessons learnt from the occurrence of COVID-19. An institution with one line of income should be a thing of the past.
“Our culture should also be explored. Culture as a tourism product increases people’s curiosity and that is what Nigeria and Africa are rich with.
“I advise tour operators to identify some tourist attractions within their state. Do short videos of these sites and display them on their social media handles for people to see that the nation is well endowed with beautiful sites,” she said.
Earlier, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General of NCAC urged tourism and travel practitioners to work harmoniously in revamping the industry.
He said that deliberate efforts should be made to promote the nation’s culture, which according to him, is the content tourism feeds on.
Runsewe commended the efforts of security outfits in the country on the minimised crime rate in the country.
“At this critical period, networking is key among culture, tourism, travel and entertainment practitioners to revitalise the creative industry.
“NCAC is open to welcome whatever form of collaboration.
“I appreciate everyone present for this programme and hope to see you again next week because it will continue to hold on a weekly basis until we are able to finally combat COVID-19,” he said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)