Tourism in 2021: Runsewe calls for faster COVID-19 testing, certification
* Says tourism is a tool for job creation, integration
( By Udeme Clement ) :
The Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture ( NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe has called for deep measures of support for tourism sector in 2021, through faster covid-19 testing and certification process.
He said, “The reality of new strain of the pandemic, coupled with very stringent measures for inbound travels across board with partial lockdown affecting out door recreation, hospitality business and impacting on jobs, have advanced additional burden to industry players, not knowing how to survive next year”.
Runsewe who also doubles as President, Africa Region of World Craft Council (WCC), stated that there is need to create a delibrate climate of assurance and faith for Cultural tourism economy. This, he said, is important to avoid depression, loss of jobs, which the Industry is known, in order to break unemployment and enhance rural development.
His words, ” We certainly welcome the news of vaccination to help curb the spread of pandemic but we must give Nigerian tourism and Culture sector some forms of protection with confidence to get hold of a strategic survival plan through faster covid testing response and certification. The industry must breath in 2021 and show grit”.
Taking a look at the worrisome situation facing the industry, the iconic Cultural Ambassador believes an enthronement of effective monitoring and compliance with COVID-19 protocols, faster covid testing ecosystem and certification can boost confidence in the troubled tourism economy, strengthen capacity for service providers, create more tourism jobs as against predicted losses inspired by covid, expands existing pillars of national integration, love for our history and heritage.
He pointed out, “The fear of another strain of the pandemic is very alarming but we must respond with a chain of confidence building processes, carefully driven through one- to-one engagement with Cultural tourism practitioners, geared towards creating additional domestic travels, empowering hospitality and creative sector to sustain jobs, provide services compliant with covid protocols with a decentralized faster covid testing and certification process that can generate double digits growth for the industry in 2021”.
Runsewe explained further that NCAC took to strategic engagement with relevant and critical stakeholders during the year to frustrate the fear and anxiety of covid -19 pandemic, praising the efforts of NCDC and Presidential Task force on covid -19 for creating the enabling environment for Cultural tourism sector to thrive, adding that Nigerians should discourage stigmatisation of covid- 19 victims.
He emphasised, “We should not fear 2021 but must carefully navigate all the challenges likely to face us through a dedicated bank of faster covid testing response mechanism, decentralized and promoted with industry leadership, in order to empower the sector to grow, instead of doom in 2021”.