By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr Folorunsho Coker has described the Ofala festival as a viable and sustainable Nigerian Tourism asset which should be further developed into a regional and global outing of culture and heritage.
Coker, stated this at the 18th Ofala festival of the traditional ruler of Onitsha.
He explained that festivals such as Ofala remain a unifying factor in connecting diverse cultures and interest as it brings people together from all walks of life and different parts to Onitsha, Nigeria.
The “Ofala, among other cultural festivals in Nigeria, does showcase the rich culture of our people through dance, colorful attire, traditional foods among other things. It boosts the local economy and encourages unity of the people whilst creating value on many micro platform “ he said.
Coker, also emphasized the need for collaboration among the tourism stakeholders in Nigerian economy namely airlines, hotels, Tour operators and festivals owners toward creating a festival economy in tourism.
He encouraged them to come up with an all-inclusive package that both foreign and local tourists can easily consume. Packages that are bite-sized and digitally driven to consumers.
The NTDC Boss then urged people to fully embrace the new media in telling the Nigerian story globally. He said the digital revolution is available to drive tourism to generate the values we need.
His words: “It is expedient for us to explore the new mediums of information which has grown beyond print and the conventional electronic media – radio and TV. The disruptive technologies available to us now can create the cash we need.
‘The new media – social media provides wider coverage and dissemination of information about our activities even to the global community, the impact is exponential.”
The DG asserted that Tourism remains a central pillar of economic growth and diversification in many countries while also expressing government’s readiness to support and promote other cultural festivals in Nigeria.
“We at NTDC are always ready to collaborate with the private sector to strengthen events that will make people focus on the consumption of tourism assets in Nigeria, hence we are willing to promote other cultural festivals in Nigeria”, he pledged.
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe in his welcome address thanked the NTDC for endorsing the Onitsha Ofala festival as a national tourism activity.
The monarch enthused: “To us, Ndi Onicha, we are encouraged and energised by the knowledge that our kingdom and culture are moving forward through our collective efforts.”