NTDC, HOPESEA charts need to package tour as a tool to drive domestic tourism.

THE Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker, has reiterated the need to create all-inclusive holidays, business and religious trip that will be easily accessible for tourists in the country to develop domestic tourism.

Coker disclosed this while receiving members of the Hotel & Personal Services Employers’ Association of Nigeria (HOPESEA) led by its President, Mr. Ugbor Vincent, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Corporation’s headquarters in Abuja recently.

The NTDC boss stressed the need for all the stakeholders in the tourism industry to come together and sell a single package tour as it is done in Dubai, India, Kenya and other parts of the world while describing music, entertainment, fashion, cuisines and religion as part of good tourism assets the country is endowed with, which will boost the Nigerian tourism industry, create wealth and job opportunities.

“Nigeria is endowed with such tourism assets and untapped potentials which can be developed for domestic consumption and exportation, we need to give a new meaning to Tourism through a digital platform which will anchor a complete trip, usually including cost for accommodation, meals, ground transport, tour guide taxes in an all-inclusive trip at a fair price, he said.

He further sought for a strategic working partnership between the HOPESEA and NTDC as the Corporation is set to grade hotels according to international standards as is in other parts of the world

“We can only achieve our goals if private sector and corporate Nigerians support the tourism sector. Government alone cannot do it, we need to embrace tourism in Nigeria and work towards promoting the tourism industry collectively”.

Earlier in his remarks, Mr Ugbor Vincent expressed satisfaction with the opportunity to meet with the Director General of NTDC to seek continued improvement in deliverables in the tourism industry, He added that “HOPESEA is willing and ready to contribute to the sustainability of the tourism industry in Nigeria”.

The HOPESEA President, who said the Association represented the voice of all major players in hotels, guest houses, Taverns, Catering and Restaurant businesses in Nigeria appealed that the opinion of business members’ organizations (BMOs) in the industry should be sought and given attention even if discretely.

“We are allies in your policies and programmes. In this wise, we hereby appeal that decisions which affect the businesses of our members should be made with our input no matter how minimal and without compromising government confidentiality and impartially”, he said.

Ugbor, who also noted that there are many hotel, restaurant, merriment and entertainment taxes and fees paid by their members across the country, said “there is need for a little direct plough back from tourism and hospitality taxes and fees. While governments are not obliged to utilize the proceeds from the taxes and fees mainly on the sector, making a reasonable part of them to be of direct benefit to employers and employees in the sector will be a morale boosters to the payers”.

“A case is the establishment of Tourism Development Fund which will provide soft loans through Bank of Industry for renovation and refurbishment for members requiring upgrading or to meet short term financial needs. Such loans will help enhance standards of facilities and services obtainable from our tourism companies”, he said.

Furthermore, the HOPESEA president requested for a quick intervention in the provision and maintenance of Street Lights, Street Cameras and Improvement in road network. “This will not only reduce crime rate but boost night-life and promote leisure and tourism in the Federal Capital Territory which is your direct domain”, he stated.

The DG NTDC in his response assured that, “We at NTDC are ever ready, not only to market and promote tourists’ sites but also to restructure and reposition our tourism industry, he said.

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