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Expert tasks operators to ensure increased creative tourism to boost GDP

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Dr Adun Okupe, a Senior Advisor with the Red Clay Advisory, has called on stakeholders in the tourism industry to embrace more creative tourism experiences to boost the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Okupe made the call on Thursday while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming 2019 Nigerian Travel Week, scheduled to hold from Nov.17 to Nov.23 in Lagos.

According to her, a move beyond cultural to a creative tourism industry will attract foreign visitors and create more business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the country.

The theme of the 2019 Nigerian Travel Week is “Harnessing the Creative Tourism Potentials of Culture Rich Destinations.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that Red Clay is a specialist tourism advisory practice focusing on tourism development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Its core services are to the tourism, leisure and recreation sectors and in the areas of strategy, policy advice and guidance, destination development and destination management.

Okupe said there had been an increase in the number of tour organisers offering cultural tourism packages but noted that there was need to ensure various avenues for creative tourism.

“Creative tourism provides opportunities for these micro- entrepreneurs to enhance their tourism offerings.

“This is by moving beyond cultural tourism where tourists merely visit sites and museums to engage with local artisans in understanding and learning cultural practices and crafts.

“It is happening around the world, different tourist sites are coming up with various ways to earn money and retain value.

“As a result, you can go the same site; different times for numerous experiences.

“For example, you can go to Italy for wine tasting experience, then go there again different times to learn how to make pasta, speak Italian, paint among others.

“This year at the Travel Week, we are going to be looking at how we can create more opportunities for tourism entrepreneurs, various avenues for local development.

“We are also going to look at the ways people can engage in learning about communities and culture,” she said.

Okupe said that through creative tourism; tourists would enjoy different aspects of Nigerian tourist sites, thereby, enabling the local communities to be active participants in various creative tourism activities.

“This will enable the local communities appreciate their culture and who they are as people.”

Also speaking, Mr Efe Awhana, founder of the Nigerian Travel Week, said the event would host international tour operators, travel agents, travel bloggers and international media and all the major tourism stakeholders in Nigeria.

Awhana said that the 2019 Nigerian Travel Week would promote increased networking and partnerships between the different stakeholders in the travel industry.

“The event is also to create awareness about the opportunities and potential in domestic and inbound tourism in Nigeria as well as intra-Africa travel.

“It will help to nurture a culture of traveling and holidaying, both domestic and outbound in Nigerians,” she said.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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