It’s good Nigerians are restricted from traveling abroad — FG
The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), an agency of the federal government, claims that the ban on Nigerians travelling abroad is good to the country’s economy and internal tourism.
The NTDC’s boss, Folarin Coker, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday.
“If Dubai Emirate Airline is not coming to Nigeria, Nigerians will not pack their naira, change it into dollars to go and buy tickets,” Mr Coker said.
Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates have had a diplomatic disagreement over the latter’s decision to impose strict regulations denying Nigerians unrestricted access to their country, citing COVID-19 concerns.
Despite Abuja’s insistence that Nigerians have the right to go to the Arabian Gulf under existing international regulations, the country’s senior tourism official claims that calling the UAE’s bluff could save Nigeria much-needed foreign exchange.
“We pay a foreign airline to go to a foreign country and stay in a foreign hotel.
“The naira is N510 to one dollar, let Nigerians stay at home and learn to appreciate the country,’’ he argued.
Mr. Coker was speaking to NAN about the company’s preparations for the South-South Stakeholders Interactive Forum.
The forum, titled “The Use of Digital Technology to Revamp the Tourism and Hospitality Industry amid COVID-19 and Security Challenges in Nigeria,” will take place in Calabar on August 26 and 27.
The director-general went on to say that COVID-19’s ban on individuals travelling overseas had boosted local tourism because most Nigerians no longer travelled outside the country.
Nigerians, he claims, are increasingly looking for alternate areas to relax and spend their holidays and weekends within the country.
“There are no foreign holidays now, we are all going to enjoy our local music, film, food, fashion, theatre and dance. I think COVID-19 has done the Nigerian tourism industry good,” he said.
Mr Coker stated that the NTDC would use technology to spread the message of domestic tourism at the next South-South Stakeholders interactive meeting in Calabar.
According to him, the goal is to urge tourism industry stakeholders to make sure their firms are technology-driven.
“We are trying to encourage the stakeholders in the entire value chain of the tourism ecosystem that there is a new way and is driven by technology.
“So, we are encouraging them to take advantage of technology to promote domestic tourism.
“There is the need for them to show Nigerians what is good in the country to stand a chance with our own tourism assets rather than something abroad,’’ Mr Coker said.