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Minister advocates digital technology to strengthen industry manpower capacity

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

…COVID-19: Eye Opener For Sector Resilient – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged operators and practitioners in the Nigerian Travel-Tourism and Hospitality industry to seize the opportunity occasioned by the COVID-19 global pandemic to re-strategise and re-position the industry for better growth and development through the application of digital technology.

Lai Mohammed who was represented by the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Mr. Folorunsho Coker at the Annual Master Lecture Series of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) held in Abuja recently with the theme ‘Professionalising The Nigerian Tourism And Hospitality Personnel In A Pandemic World’, noted that the pandemic is an eye opener for the Nigerian tourism industry to be resilient in ensuring that the industry works for the socio-economic good of the country.

He said: “The theme of this year’s lecture was apt, as it is at a time when the government is doing everything possible to curb the spread of the pandemic while at the same time allowing economic activities to go on without hindrance. This is why human capital development of the Nigerian tourism sector must be compliant with the provisions of the protocol guidelines of COVID-19 for the safety of both service providers and customers as a way of building confidence in the sector.

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In her remark, Permanent Secretary of the Information and Culture Ministry, Dr. Ifeoma Adora Anyanwutaku, who was represented at by the Director of Domestic and Eco Tourism in the Ministry, Mrs. Patricia Joseph Narai, said personnel in the tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria must acquire skills that will enable them conduct their businesses in a safer and sustainable manner in the face of the pandemic. She assured that the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism is in a better position to provide the platform for impacting the necessary skills for such professional conducts that adheres strictly to the COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical protocols.

Anyanwutaku further said the current technological break-through in ICT has made it possible for people to conduct business without much physical contact through the deployment of electronic and online transactions that are a critical component of the COVID-19 protocol provisions.

Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa also said though the Tourism and Hospitality sector is the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic globally, the industry remains the most viable sector of the Nigerian economy, noting that the choice of the theme for the 2021 Lecture is to address the skill-gap prevalent in the industry especially of compliance with the pandemic protocol guidelines by industry players in the conduct of travel tourism and hospitality activities in the country.

Kangiwa noted that while government’s proactive measures and efforts must be appreciated at stemming the tide of the spread of the pandemic, stakeholders in the travel tourism and hospitality industry must deploy the use of modern technology to adequately equip themselves with the necessary skills for efficient and effective service delivery without compromising their safety and wellbeing, and those of the patronising customers against the deadly pandemic.

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