The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) on Wednesday solicited an enduring partnership with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to promote the growth of the tourism sector in Nigeria.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy visit to the editorial management of NAN in Abuja, the Director-General of the NTDC, Mr Folorunsho Coker, said that he needed to collaborate with NAN to drive the vision of the NTDC as laid out by the Federal Government.
He said that the media had a critical role in the quest to engender development, saying that partnership with NAN was necessary for the NTDC to sell its programmes to the public.
According to him, the time has come for media practitioners to be part of the vision to showcase the tourism sector, noting that tourism is key in sustaining a positive image for Nigeria.
“Tourism without the media is like tea without sugar. We need to support each other because the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to embrace a new normal.
“There is a need to collaborate to foster change in a dynamic world and stretch our hands of friendship and partnership in harnessing the huge potential in the tourism industry.
“Domestic tourism offers a rare opportunity for reflection and recalibration to grow again because it is uniquely equipped to be part of the national recovery effort.
Coker noted that domestic tourism requires fewer restrictions and less education, generates employment and revenue, and reduces rural-urban migration and poverty.
“At the NTDC, we focus on domestic tourism as our recovery solution to creating healing for the people.
“In line with the above, we conceived the `Tour Nigeria’ project, to drive domestic consumption of tourism products in Nigeria, commercialise tourism and generate employment.’’
The NTDC chief stressed that domestic tourism must be encouraged to enhance the creative sector, galvanise economic growth across other sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing.
Coker also appealed to NAN management for support in showcasing some initiatives of the NTDC, including, its Google Arts and Culture, aimed at digitizing, preserving, and sharing Nigeria’s rich culture within and across the world.
Coker also pleaded with other stakeholders in the tourism sector to collaborate, rather than competing and creating internal capacity, while contending with the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Managing Director of NAN, Mr Buki Ponle, said that his mandate as the chief executive officer was to change the narrative of news reporting in Nigeria and Africa in general.
“We have come to a stage where we have to think outside the box. We have to collaborate with people of like minds to make Nigeria great.’’
Ponle pleaded with the NTDC to support NAN in its renewed determination to develop, nurture, implement and succeed in developmental journalism as needed currently in Nigeria.
“We focus on positive reports, aimed at fostering developmental journalism,” he said.