World Tourism Day: Stakeholders call for digital marketing of Nigeria

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Some stakeholders in the tourism sector on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government to market and advertise Nigeria’s tourism sites on various internet platforms for easy accessibility by international tourists.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews in Lagos that the three tiers of government should engage digital tools in transforming the nation’s tourism industry.

They said that when one considered the theme of 2018 World Tourism Day: “Tourism and Digital Transformation” one could say that the private sector had made some significant contributions to the sector.

They said that each heritage site ought to have its own website, twitter, Instagram handle where they would showcase their unique selling points or potential.

NAN reports that the World Tourism Day is usually celebrated annually on Sept.  27 and the theme for the 2018 edition is — “Tourism and Digital Transformation”.

Mr Ikechi Uko, the founder of AKWAABA Travel Tourism Market, said that there had been a sporadic digital transformation in the Nigerian tourism industry.

He said this was because most domestic tour operators had been using the internet to drive tourism.

He said that the only area where operators should engage digital tools was in advertising Nigeria’s heritage sites.

Uko said that most of the sites were supposed to have elaborate websites through which tourists could connect.

The tourism stakeholder, however, appealed to the Federal Government to make available the digital tools which the stakeholders could use to harness the heritage sites.

“We have success stories in Nigeria; there has been positive transformation because the domestic tour operators use the twitter handle, Instagram and other internet facilities to drive tourism.

“The drawback is that the products which are on some of the sites are not being aligned with the digital evolution.

“Most of the tourist destinations do not have applications or elaborate websites through which people can connect.

“Our sites have not travelled so much because of this deficiency,” he said.

Uko said that Nigeria had the biggest internet emersion in the world because many Nigerians used to connect to the internet through their smart phones on regular basis.

He said this had signaled the possibilities and opportunities that the country would soon take over the world through her tourism potential.

“The easiest way to reach more people is through digital transactions, and we need to explore this to take Nigerian tourism industry to the next level,” he said.

Also, Dr Omatshola Iseli, popularly known as Tee Mac, said that the Nigerian tourism industry was not as buoyant as it should be due to lack of basic infrastructure that could drive it.

The flutist said that government must ensure that the road networks to most tourist sites were in good conditions to attract tourists and visitors.

He said electricity and security challenges must be worked on to adequately boost in-bound tourism.

“The Federal Government must realise that the tourism industry has the potential to generate huge revenue for the nation, as a matter of fact, it is bigger than oil,” he said.

Also, a renowned art collector, Dr Yemisi Shyllon, said that tourism practitioners and government should explore the digital world to effectively promote the nation’s tourism industry.

He said that it was sad that most tourist sites in the country had not been adequately marketed to the international communities using digital tools.

Shyllon said that the Federal Government and stakeholders in the sector should deploy digital tools in marketing the nation’s heritage sites before the international community.

“I am sorry to tell you that tourism has not started in Nigeria as we cannot explore the digital world to promote our own endowment to the rest of the world.

“This is sad but we must have a rethink, create functional websites for each of these sites and we will marvel at the rate this will boost our in-bound tourism.

“The Obudu Cattle Ranch, the Idanre Hills, the first story building in Nigeria located in Badagry, the Olumo Rocks and many others should have their own individual websites and other social media platforms,” he said.