Nneka Isaac-Moses, Chief Executive, Goge Africa and other tourism practitioners on Sunday called on Nollywood to showcase Nigeria’s tourists’ sites in movies to attract visitors and grow the industry.
They made the call during a webinar organised by Nigeria Travel Week and Travelscope Magazine, with the theme: ” A Fresh Start for Tourism in Nigeria: Selling Nigeria to Nigerians”.
According to the stakeholders, Nollywood has all it takes to project Nigeria’s cultural heritage and tourism potential beyond the shores of the nation, having gained remarkable growth over the years.
Isaac-Moses said it had become pertinent to involve Nollywood, writers guild and the media generally in the promotion of tourism as government and individual practitioners could not do it alone.
She said this would enlighten local investors on the viability of the industry as they take interest to invest.
” Our greatest undoing in our tourism growth is the lack of branding and promotions, we need to be deliberate about how we showcase our tourism assets to local and international tourists.
” We have to take advantage of the media to project Nigeria’s tourism sites.
” We need to show investors, businessmen, corporate organisations the value of tourism and assure them of the returns on their investments because these are the only group of people that can upgrade these sites to taste.
” Most banks and telecommunication companies are looking for brands that are interested in equity funding, we should approach them,” she said.
Also, Ngozi Ngoka, Founder, Tourism Consultant Forum, advised tourism operators to engage Nigerian celebrities as influencers to visit tourism sites within the country.
Ngoka said celebrities could do this because they had huge fan base and followers on their social media platforms as renowned Nollywood actors, footballers, musicians and all should be the focus.
She also advised tour operators to go back to the basics in the process of destination packaging and change from the ways things were done before.
Tinuke Nwakoha, Managing Director, Aviator Travels, said that Nollywood could help advertise most tourism sites in Nigeria like the waterfalls, caves, cultural heritages, plateaus and all.
Nwakoha said to compliment these efforts from Nollywood at the end of the day, government also needed to render some level of support to upgrade the tourists sites and the road network to each site.
She advised tour operators to work on rebranding tour packaging to focus more on including beautiful sites, parties, fascinating African cuisines and more.
Mr Brian Ebden, Communications and Marketing Consultant, suggested a tourism campaign to be targeted at the corporate Nigerians, educating them on the significant value of investing in tourism.
He said the efforts of the civil societies would equally be needed in growing tourism.
Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), advised practitioners on imitating existing tourism models in other climes that have recorded growth in their tourism industries.
Coker said that it was high time the practitioners synergise to move the industry forward without looking up to the government, adding that tourism needed to be reengineered for growth.
Mr Pelu Awofeso, a Travel Writer, urged Nigerians to begin to view traveling within the country for leisure purposes as a personal social responsibility.
He said: ” Tourists must know that the little money spent at destinations will help to lift lives of the locals; Nigerians must consciously invest in its tourism”.
Alhaji Aminu Agoha, a Tourism Consultant, urged the Nigerian print and electronic media to dwell on projecting positive stories of the nation rather than the negative.
He said for the tourism industry to record remarkable growth, its laws and taxation laws must be reviewed, urging the Federal Government to attend to this.
” We need to get prepared for the market, review our tourism laws,” he said.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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