Mr Folorunsho Coker,

COVID-19: People restricted from traveling abroad blessing to domestic tourism – NTDC boss

Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) says the restriction of people from traveling abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic is a blessing to the nation’s domestic tourism.

Coker spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday on the level of the corporation’s preparation toward the South-South Stakeholders Interactive Forum.

NAN reports that the forum is scheduled to hold between Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 in Calabar, while the Marathon will hold on Aug. 28.

The forum has as its theme: “The Use of Digital Technology to Revamp the Tourism and Hospitality Industry amid COVID-19 and Security Challenges in Nigeria.”

The director-general said that the restriction of people from travelling abroad due to COVID-19 had boosted domestic tourism as most Nigerians no longer traveled out of the country.

According to him, Nigerians now look for alternative places within the country to relax and spend their holidays or weekends.

“If Dubai Emirate Airline is not coming to Nigeria, Nigerians will not pack their Naira, change it into dollars to go and buy tickets.

“We pay a foreign airline to go to a foreign country and stay in a foreign hotel.

“The Naira is N510 to one dollar, let Nigerians stay at home and learn to appreciate the country.

“There is no foreign holidays now, we are all going to enjoy our local music, film, food, fashion, theatre and dance. I think COVID-19 has done the Nigerian tourism industry good,’’ he said.

Coker said the corporation would take the message of domestic tourism through the use of technology to the upcoming South-South Stakeholders interactive forum in Calabar.

According to him, the idea is to encourage the stakeholders in the tourism industry to ensure their businesses are driven by technology.

“We are trying to encourage the stakeholders in the entire value chain of ecosystem of tourism that there is a new way and is driven by technology.

“So, we are encouraging them to take advantage of technology to promote domestic tourism.

“There is the need for them to show Nigerians what is good in the country to stand a chance with our own tourism assets rather than something abroad,’’ Coker said.