NATOP congratulates new tourism minister, canvasses development fund for sector

The Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) has congratulated Lola Ade-John, the designated Minister of Tourism, urging her to devise ways to create a development fund for the growth of the industry.

Mrs Ime Udo, National President of NATOP, said this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.

“We congratulate the new minister for tourism, with her background in Information Technology and being in the technological age, she must bring to bear her expertise in data collation and tourism technology.

“And as a former banker, we expect that she will be able to devise ways through which tourism development fund can be created to advance the industry.

“One of the major inhibitors for tourism growth is the lack of funding and inability to attract investors.

“Tourism is first of all a business and should be approached as such,” she said.

Udo advised the minister to embark on physical tour of some of the heritage sites within the country in view of the deplorable state of most of the sites.

She said Ade-John would have to connect with the tourism board in each state to ascertain the current state of their activities to evaluate and plan on tourism development.

“The minister must be very intentional about making Nigeria a destination, she must immediately call for a roundtable stakeholders’ meeting to rub minds and know the true state of things in the industry.

Udo said the integration of a Minister of Tourism in Nigeria with an Information Technology background presents numerous intriguing possibilities for the country’s tourism sector.

She said the development and promotion of e-tourism platforms could provide a seamless experience for tourists.

According to her, such platforms can include online visa applications, digital city guides, and easy online booking for accommodations and attractions.

She said leveraging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) could help develop “smart tourist destinations”.

“For instance, smart signage provides real-time information or smart bracelets for tourists that offer guided tours and ensure safety

“The minister’s expertise can drive the digital transformation of Nigeria’s tourism sector, from online ticketing systems to virtual tours of historical sites, the possibilities are vast.

“It is certain that she would understand the importance of data, which will lead to better-informed decisions based on tourism trends, visitor preferences, and feedback.

“Being in a technological age, historical sites and museums could be enhanced with Augumented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology, providing interactive experiences and bringing Nigeria’s rich history to life,” she said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria