NTDC Hackaton plugs Nigeria into $8 trn global e-tourism

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Sopuruchi Onwuka

Federal government is working to position the Nigerian tourism industry for enhanced international investments and promote the nation’s capacity to tap into a global play that is worth over $8.0 trillion.

Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Chief Folorunsho Coker, declared in a media briefing in Lagos that the agency which drives innovation and regulation in the Nigerian tourism industry is working to evolve new systems and processes to ease business practices in the industry.

Director General NTDC, Chief Folorunsho Coker

The agency he said has embarked on talent hunting hackathon to explore and harness in-country skills and technical capacity in developing a digital platform for easy and speedy processes for procurement of goods and services in the industry.

The hackathon, Chief Coker stated, creates an avenue for carefully selected developers from the six geo-political zones of the country to develop digital tools that aim to solve some of the frictions and dislocations experienced across the industry.

The Oracle Today reports that the hackathon initiative is a collaborative effort of public providing the policy and fiscal environment and private sector providing the intellectual capacity.

The private participants in hosting the hackathon are led by Bycep, an indigenous tech hub provider for training and grooming upstarts in the Nigerian tech and innovation space.

Chief Coker said the NTDC would achieve the objectives of the hackathon with the support of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

He said the hackathon would be steering the Nigerian tourism industry into a digital play to enable domestic industry access opportunity in the global leisure and travel industry, which, according to him, drive the global economic growth.

To develop digital platforms that would support and transform new ways and means of play in the tourism industry, Chief Coker said the NTDC conceived the Tourism Hackathon Nigeria 2022. The tech tournament would provide opportunity for digital start-ups and powerhouses like Bycep evolve tools and applications that would dismantle encumbrances to smoothen and simplify transactions in the industry.

According to Chief Coker, the outcome of the hackathon would create a new digital space that would further domicile advanced technologies that enhance the culture of travel and holiday culture.

“We have identified the need to deploy technological solutions for sectoral growth across the tourism value chain,” Chief Coker said, pointing at vast and readymade market for over 147 million active internet subscribers in a 200 million population with tele-density of significant 97 percent.

He said the agency’s CHIEF PLAN for corporate governance, human capacity, infrastructure, operations activity and financing has raised the need for digital tools that would be developed and scaled in the next 24 months.

The hackathon, he said, is conceived to identify and address challenges and gaps across the country’s tourism value chain by deploying unique and innovative solutions.

The solutions expected to evolve from the tech challenge include pricing, safe payment channels, market access, customer service and retention, as well as bookings and reservations. Other issues that raise agenda for the hackathon include data collection and analytics, distribution, establishment, systems, supply chains and logistics.

“Our goal is to improve the country’s ranking on the World Economic Forum competitiveness index ny harnessing the growing popularity of digital technology to solve prevalent problems across the tourism value chain in Nigeria,” Chief Coker pointed out.

He added that “we want to be able to imagine a future in which a tourist’s journey experience is fully enhanced by digitization of all support activities from pre-booking stages to destination experiences.”

He said the agency was building and tourism ecosystem with more digital interactions supported by data shared in a customized, secure and confidential means among different players in the industry.

“To achieve this desired objective, we are looking for ideas that are scalable and sustainable on a use-case basis. Ideas such that encompass smart integration of information also called smart city, multimodal mobility services, customized route optimization, ideas with sustainability in mind, virtual and augmented reality.

“The opportunities are limitless through technology which is why we’re reaching out to the tech community to come up with new ideas for the sector,” Chief Coker stressed.

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