Coker made this remark during his keynote address which had the theme “Maximizing the Potentials of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry: The Role of the Government” at the just concluded Nigerian Hospitality and Tourism Conference which held in Lagos, organised by Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency.
“The bedrock of tourism is not the big footprint of foreign brands but rather, the many cottage industries manned by passionate indigenes. That is what allows tourism be the largest employer of labour in the world, even over the oil industry,” Coker added.
Meanwhile, the managing director of Jumia Travel Nigeria, Omolara Adagunodo, in her welcome remark stated some of the laudable initiatives the online travel agency has embarked on as part of efforts geared towards promoting travel and tourism within the country.
According to her, at the time the company was entering the market some 5 years ago, it was noticed that data on the travel industry was not available. The company therefore took it upon itself to invest in the production of such data every year.
“In the last five years of our existence as a company, we have been involved in notable endeavors that sought to move the industry forward. One of the very first things we noticed at a time was the lack of data in the travel industry. As you all know, data is indeed crucial to the planning and development of any sector. So, we took it upon ourselves to invest in the production of a report on the Nigerian hospitality industry. We produce this report yearly in every African country we have our operation,”Adaogunodo said.
The conference had two panel discussions with relevant travel practitioners as panelists. The theme “Using New Media to Merchandise Major Nigerian Sites, Destinations & Places to Drive Tourists Footfall” was discussed by Chiamaka Obuekwe, Founder of Social Prefect Tours; Funmi Oyatogun, Founder of TVP Adventures; Wonu Lamidi, CEO of Diamond & Pearl Tours; Lola Daniyan, Founder of Unravelling Nigeria; and Michael Balogun, Founder of Tour2Nigeria.