The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), says the production of a specialised map to aid the nation’s tourist navigation will soon be unveiled before the end of this year.
Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General of the Corporation, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
Coker said that Nigerians would soon get the new map in hotels, Airports and other tourist places.
He said the Corporation had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation to develop the map to make it as accurate as possible.
“We have just signed an MoU with the office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation to develop a tourism map together.
“They (Office of Surveyor-General) have the geographical information and we have tourist destinations related data.
“We are collating data to ensure the map is accurate.
“Physical copies will be stationed in hotels, Airports and other hospitality and tourism establishments,’’ Coker said.
According to him, the information is ready but the marriage of the information will take time, adding the map would be ready before the end of the year.
He said that the emergence of increased tourist activities around the country, especially in hiking communities required a specialised map.
“We all know that the best map is one that has local content. Nobody knows my backyard better than I do. I know where there are waterfalls, springs, unique rock formations and the best spots for picnics.
“In many countries with a thriving tourism sector, you can tell the concierge at your hotel that you want to visit a particular restaurant.
“They bring out a small map and say you are here and this is where you are going,’’ he said.
According to him, there are several active hiking communities in Nigeria and our environment is never static as seasons come and go.
“Information like that on a map is crucial to people who plan to hike a trail, go camping or explore the city.
“It is also crucial for people who are not in the digital world to stay up to date with happenings around them,’’ the director-general said.
He said that the map will promote COVID-19 compliant establishments, rules and regulations to help guide the tourists’ decision-making process.
“For example, in Kano State, there are specific rules that are specific to the state when compared to Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt,’’ Coker said.
TOUR NIGERIA TO BOOST THE ECONOMY
The NTDC boss also called on Nigerians to tour the country and patronise made in Nigeria products to boost the nation’s economy.
He said that domestic tourism has the potential to strengthen the nation’s economy and attract international tourists.
“We don’t need tourists to come and visit Nigeria. There are over 200 million Nigerians. Let Nigerians know more about Nigeria first. Let Nigerians consume enough of Nigerian products.
“If we make more positive noise about Nigeria, other people from outside Nigeria will come. If you and I don’t eat, drink Nigerian products and grow the nation’s currency, hospitality establishments such as restaurants, bars and hotels will not become strong enough.
“For the institution to task and regulate them to become strong enough, there is a need to have an economy that has the strength to attract domestic and international tourists.
“If we sit on this assertion that we want to attract international tourists, what do we offer, infrastructure, security?
“Let us get to know Nigeria, let us tour Nigeria to know more about our country. Let us spend our money in Nigeria and enjoy the products and services she offers.
“When we grow our economy, tourists will come,” he said.
Coker argued that if we could grow our music, film, fashion and pentecostal religions to the level that they are now, and tourists from around the world could be visiting Nigeria for the experience, we could also grow the tourism industry.
He said that tourism was about people travelling from their usual space to new places where they immerse themselves in the values and culture of the people in the communities they visit.
“So, we say to Nigerians, let us start from the fundamentals and build the foundation our tourism sector requires.
“Presently, NTDC is not well funded, therefore, we cannot afford the kind of tourism structure other countries deploy to promote their domestic markets.
“We cannot go to companies because companies will say they pay their tax,’’ he said.
Coker predicted that there would be a post-pandemic boom in Nigeria, adding that in it tourism was going to have a square central position..
“When you can’t take your money outside, you have to spend it in your house. Those who are providing products and services in your community will benefit because you are spending your money at home.
“Home is your most comfortable holiday and space. So, post-pandemic boom, yes, tourism is squarely in it I believe,’’ he said.