The Nigeria Association of Tour Operators has congratulated the designated Minister of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, on her new appointment, while urging her to devise ways to create a development fund for the growth of the industry.
This was stated by the National President of NATOP, Mrs Ime Udo, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, in Lagos on Saturday.
Speaking during the interview, Mrs Udo expressed hope that, Ade-John will bring some remarkable changes to the ministry, based on her background in information technology.
“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 funds 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.
She however advised the minister, to embark on a physical tour of some of the heritage sites within the country given the deplorable condition of most of the sites.
Speaking further, Udo advised Ade-John to connect with the tourism board in each state of the federation, to ascertain the current state of their activities, to assess and plan for 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, she added.
According to her, the integration of a Minister of Tourism in Nigeria with an Information Technology background proposes innumerable intriguing possibilities for the country’s tourism sector, noting that the development and promotion of e-tourism platforms could provide a seamless experience for tourists.
Udo stated that Ade-John’s knowledge of information technology would enhance platforms such as online visa applications, digital city guides, and easy online booking for accommodations and attractions.
She said leveraging technologies such as the Internet of Things, 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 Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology, providing interactive experiences and bringing Nigeria’s rich history to life,” Udo stated.