Folorunsho Coker, director general, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has taken a swipe at the previous NTDC administration under Goodluck Jonathan’s handling of the country’s tourism brand stating that ‘Fascinating Nigeria’ failed to take into account the upheavals in the country at the time.
Coker made the call while launching ‘Tour Nigeria,’ a tourism brand that hopes to diversify the industry to encourage indigenous exploitation of home tourism.
Speaking to armada, the DG said, “I did not start ‘Fascinating Nigeria.’ But how do you sell Fascinating Nigeria at a time when we were suffering from very negative news?
“Have you considered the amount of terror attacks going on at that particular period? That was what dominated global media about Nigeria.
“Then you come to say ‘Fascinating Nigeria’, are you believable”?
According to him, the federal government gave him a matching order upon assumption of office “to reverse the negative narratives on Nigerian tourism; promote our diverse heritage; innovate new tourism channels while also shaping the positive perception of its citizens,” he said. He added that this accounts for the birth of ‘Tour Nigeria,’ an ambitious attempt at promoting tourism in Nigeria locally.
“It is essentially meant to shape perception of outsiders about Nigerian tourism. We hope it will showcase the vibrant energy of Nigerians through different creative expressions.
“The brand will leverage on the best of Nigeria. We are known to be intelligent hardworking people. We are also known for our can do, never say die attitude, which is accompanied with friendly and accommodating spirit. We are proudly the most populous nation on earth and home to the second largest movie industry in the globe” Coker said.
Fascinating Nigeria ran into stormy waters after the CEO of Anchora, consulting firm, Water Wgbatsoma, was fingered in shady oil deals and was also arrested on fraud related charges in Germany.
But Coker said Tour Nigeria is markedly different.
“The people who put up the design from scratch to finish are from the different departments in NTDC. We did not bring in one man from London or America to help design the logo or to help us tour our country. Do we need to bring in someone to tell us about our country? If you are not an indigene of Abuja but you are here, then you are a tourist. If your normal abode is Benin, Asaba, you are here because you are working. Whether we like or not we go home at certain times and come back. But all I am saying is that let us define that movement.
At Christmas we all go home, New Year we come back. Let us define that movement, encourage it and document it in a manner that is formal, so that we can interact with the value chain,” He concluded.