• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Google partners Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation to drive post-COVID-19 recovery

Folorunsho Coker

The tourism and hospitality industry has been one of the worst hit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Google has now announced a partnership with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to help the Nigerian tourism sector recover and grow following the pandemic.

The partnership will among other things, culminate in a training for small businesses, digital skills initiatives for individuals and the launch of a new Google Arts & Culture collection called ‘Tour Nigeria’.

Google Arts & Culture, according to a press statement, has worked with the NTDC over a number of months to create an online exhibition of imagery, stories and commentary highlighting some of Nigeria’s beautiful, hidden gems. It covers destinations such as the Awhum Caves of Enugu, to the Farin Ruwa falls of Nasarawa, the Osun Osogbo sacred grove of Osun state, and the Wikki Warm spring of Bauchi state. The project also features stories and photos from some of the most colourful cultural festivals in the country including the Yauri Rigata Festival, and the Kano Durbar Festival.

Folorunsho Coker, director-general, NTDC, described the tourism sector as a key pillar of Nigeria’s economy. “Initiatives that support and promote domestic tourism are critical, not only for the sector but also because a stronger tourism sector will help Nigeria’s economy recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. According to him, an expanded tourism sector will be able to drive employment and stimulate economic growth.

“Initiatives like Google’s – that are grounded in data-driven insights into how the sector can be supported and grown – strengthens NTDC’s ‘Tour Nigeria’ strategy, which seeks to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria,” he said. The collaboration is also culminating in kick-starting the NTDC’s ‘Tour Nigeria’ collection with Google Arts & Culture.

“Rich heritage, natural beauty and vibrant cities, Nigeria is a destination we all need on our travel shortlist soon,” said Amit Sood, director, Google Arts & Culture. “Even though 2020 continues to be a challenging year for Nigerians and travellers from around the world, I hope that this unique online experience – created in collaboration with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation – can contribute to further promote Nigeria’s iconic sites and capture its stories.”

The partnership with NTDC will provide support for the local tourism sector including providing training programs to enable businesses to leverage online tools they can use to grow their businesses. The program also features a digital skills program aimed at helping individuals to skill up so they can find jobs or further develop their careers within the tourism industry. SMBs are being assisted by way of digital migration programs to help them get online, and expand their audience reach. And, lastly, the partnership will create exposure for Nigeria’s tourist attractions through Google’s technology offerings including virtual reality, 360° videos, Street View, ultra-high-resolution “gigapixel” images and Google Arts & Culture initiatives.

“We’re always looking for new and creative ways in which technology can foster connections between people and the arts,” says Google Nigeria country director Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor. “‘Explore Nigeria’ is an expression of that desire and a tangible program that demonstrates our economic support of and commitment to Nigeria.”

Google Arts & Culture and the NTDC have also launched a new ‘Explore Nigeria’ video series featuring top Nigerian social media influencers and YouTube creators. This video-based series highlights the best of Nigeria through the eyes of these influencers and can be found here at http://goo.gle/TourNigeria.