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Goge Africa partners Sterling Bank, others to train tourism operators

Goge Africa has partnered with Sterling Bank Plc, Lagos State Government (LASG), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), and National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) to train operators in the tourism industry as part of an effort to equip them with the deep, requisite knowledge and understanding required to operate successfully in the local tourism sector.

Goge Africa is an award-winning pan-African organisation specialising in arts, culture and tourism development and the showcase of Africa’s heritage to more than 40 million television viewers worldwide.

At the training programme held in Lagos recently, Shina Atilola, divisional head, retail and consumer banking with Sterling Bank, advised participants to find their niche and be different in using their strength to project the Nigerian tourism sector to the outside world.

He observed that the fundamental challenge to tourism development in Nigeria is the lack of pride in what we have.

“We rarely create travel experiences for tourists and do not project our tourist attractions and destinations that have much potential. It explains why Nigerians travel the world to go and pay for those things that are here in the country,” Atilola said.

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While acknowledging the challenges facing the domestic tourism sector, Atilola assured operators that funding would not be their problem. He disclosed that Sterling Bank would give them the necessary support because the bank is committed to developing the country’s tourism value chain.

He urged them to apply the knowledge they will get from the training to advertise and publicise the countries abundant tourist attractions and destinations and the exciting experiences on offer to lure visitors, increase footfalls and grow the business.

“Tourism is a social phenomenon which drives economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability. It is a powerful poverty reduction tool that presents exceptional opportunities to all, including the poor and disadvantaged. At Sterling, we are keen on leveraging its comparative and competitive advantages to grow the economy and lift rural and peri-urban families out of poverty,” Atilola said.

Isaac Moses, chief executive officer of Goge Africa, said about 630 people registered for the programme, but they could not take them all because of the COVID-19 protocols, which require social distancing.

He appreciated Sterling Bank, Lagos State Government, and other partners for working with Goge Africa to organise the training programme.

Nneka Moses, co-founder of Goge Africa, said having sustained the brand for about 20 years, they desired to build a pipeline of knowledge workers in the arts, culture, and tourism promotion space to expand the sector to reach its full potential.

Also speaking, Solomon Bonu, special adviser on Tourism, Arts and Culture to the Lagos State Governor, said Goge Africa deserves accolades for the great work it has been doing in the arts and culture sector. He said Lagos State is fully in support of Goge Africa because the programme started in the state.

He told participants that the state government would also support them to have access to funds dedicated to the development of the tourism sector but enjoined them to take advantage of the immense opportunities that tourism sites in Epe, Lagos Island, Lekki Peninsular and Badagry offers them to win locally and internationally.

Ayodele Olumoko, vice president, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), Southwest of Nigeria, advised participants to be steadfast and create a niche for themselves by coming up with distinctive approaches to the business.

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