The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has called on youths across the country to take advantage of opportunities in the tourism sector to contribute positively to the economic growth of the country.

Mr Folorunsho Coker, the Director-General of NTDC made the call during his keynote address at the grand finale and award of prizes at the National Essay Competition on Tourism in Abuja on Friday.

The event was organised by Desigo Tourism Development and facility management Company Ltd in conjunction with Youth Tourism Connect.

“I urge our youths to key into and take advantage of the boundless opportunities tourism presents in the country to get employment and contribute to the economic growth of the country.

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“It is on record that tourism contributes immensely to the Gross Domestic Product of many nations.

“It is also the greatest employer of labour and a solution for poverty alleviation and economic growth.

“Nigeria has huge tourism potential ranging from the ecotourism, religious, conference, and sports among others, not to mention the beautiful festivals as well as diverse culture,’’ Coker said.

The NTDC boss said that while oil was exhaustible, tourism was sustainable, adding that it was the next alternative to oil and sure ladder to economic recovery and stability.

According to him, this can only be achievable if the youths are actively involved in positively changing the tide through tourism.

Coker said that NTDC has identified the new medium of expression in promoting tourism and it is geared towards active youth participation.

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“These new channels of information for tourism can be actualised in the rebranding of our food, fashion, music, films and festivals which are unique to us.

“These rebranded concepts will be promoted and driven through digital space, with the use of high tech software in computers, phones and other like equipment.

“With this new innovation in promoting Nigerian tourism, we have to leverage on our youths and have them more involved in the business of tourism.

“Also, sensitising them to take their destinies in their hands, engaging them to be entrepreneurs, employers of labour, financially independent with the overriding benefit of economic growth for the country,’’ Coker said.

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According to him, the ICT tourism promotion strategy is easily achievable because the youths are digitally focused, mastering the art of ICT and fluent with social media platforms.

He explained that the power of advertising with ICT is timeless reaching out to millions of people globally in just a second.

“It is with this belief that the ‘Tour Nigeria’ brand was inaugurated, beckoning on our youths and every Nigerian to come on board and explore new mediums of expression in tourism.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Coker was represented at the event by the legal adviser of the corporation, Mrs Funebi Otu-Umondak. (NAN)