World Tourism Day: NTDC urges Nigerians to harness tourism potential for job creation

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4th from the left is Mr Micheal Lekan-Kehinde, Managing Director, Discoveria, Mrs Annette Ibe, NTDC South West Zonal Coordinator and Mr Augustine Agugua, Senior Lecturer, Sociology Department, University of Lagos
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By Taiye Olayemi

Lagos – Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), on Friday urged Nigerians to harness the nation’s tourism potential to create job opportunities.Coker made the call during the Corporation’s commemoration of the World Tourism Day (WTD), held at NTDC office, Ojodu, Lagos.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September, with celebrations led by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution the sector can make in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.The theme for the year is : “Tourism and Jobs: a Better Future for All”.Coker, who was represented by Mrs Annette Ibe, NTDC South West Zonal Coordinator, said that going by the theme of the year’s WTD, tourism was the largest employer of labour in the world.According to him, this is due to its activities in the value chain, which included: hotel, restaurant, transportation, destination management, souvenir production, packaging of carnivals, festivals, cultural promotions and more.He noted that with this huge potential, the Nigerian youths could latch upon those potential to create jobs and wealth for themselves.According to him, in 2018, tourism employed 313,221,000 people globally and generated about $8.272 trillion.” With lots of statistics from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, it is glaring that tourism is the largest employer of labour.” It is now for us to harness our resources to engender growth, to do this we need to redefine tourism and see it as a business, and pay necessary attention to it.” Nigerian youths should also leverage on these opportunities to create wealth for themselves,” he said.Coker called on tourism product sellers in Nigeria to come up with inclusive packages that both foreign and local tourists easily consume.Earlier, Mr Micheal Lekan-Kehinde, Chief Executive Officer, Discoveria, a tourism firm, urged Nigerian youths to embrace businesses within the tourism value chain.According to him, individuals do not have to wait to be employed, but could pick up one of the aspects of the tourism industry such as tour guide, travel agents, tour operator, destination management, festivals, cultural promotion and more.He said youths could get trained in one of these aspects, to operate successfully in the industry.” To operate as a tour guide, you will need to read about the culture of a group of people, their locality and all vital information about such people from time immemorial.” It takes a creative mind and being focused to be successful in it,” he said. (NAN)

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