Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has urged the media and filmmakers in Nollywood to project the country’s image positively.
Coker told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday that with the understanding of the concept of developmental journalism, the media should use such to promote the country’s image for tourism to strive.
He said that reporting that a strange sickness had ravaged the nation as headline news sometimes may be detrimental to the country and the effect was more harmful than good.
Coker also called on the movie makers to use their medium to sell the nations rich cultural heritage rather than portraying the negative side of the country.
“It is not the dramatisation of witches and wicked mother in laws that we should sell in our movies.
“It is not also about putting out a headline that lassa fever hits Nigeria that the media should report because such reportage damages the image of our country.
“What image of the country are we selling, what are we also promoting by all these; we are actually working against ourselves by portraying these to the world,” he said.
According to him, such reportage through the media and movies tells tourists that the country is not in a good condition for tourism.
Coker who stated that the developed countries such as America, Britain Italy and France showcased their heritage stressed that such made those countries attractive for visit.
He decried the absence of Nigerian image makers, in the promotion of the society’s image by way of wearing branded clothes, others.
“Tell me when last you saw a super star wearing our branded clothes, promoting our image; they rather promote the brand of other countries.
” Use your soft power to promote the image of our country, when you are walking help someone stand and use Nigeria film to promote our sports industry as well as support our women in sports, ” he urged.
Coker said that there should be more synergy from all stakeholders, such as entertainment, hospitality, media and tourism practitioners towards building the country’s image.
He said that all these put together would help strengthen Nigerian tourism as well as make it thrive.
The NTDC boss said that it was imperative for people to understand that tourism was a business that most wealthy countries depend on thereby canvassed investing in it.
“We have been trying but need to do more; we need a structural shift, a legal framework and a platform to achieve our goal.
“We need to get people to understand that tourism business is what some wealthy countries depend on and until we invest in tourism and reap the fruits.
“Until we learn that we are sowing seed in this investment and it will not develop in one night, we must water it, fertilise it and we will not abandon it and must invest overtime before we reap it.
“If our creative industry do not come together to promote our brand, tourism will not thrive and I want to see our image makers wear Kanu pillars and Enugu Rangers T- shirts.
“I want to see our celebrities wear tour Nigeria T-shirts without being paid for doing it,” he said.
Coker said that cross industry support would help in ensuring that tourism became a revenue generating avenue in the country.
He said that there was need to aggregate and create a product to buy for one price as done in Dubai, Jerusalem; South Africa, others.
He, therefore, enjoined stakeholders such as entertainment, hospitality and tourism industries to come together to create a single fare price product value for money and digitally marketed products “easy to sell, buy and easy to consume.”
Coker also called on creative industries to synergise in order to promote the nation’s brand adding that the coming together of these and the promotion of the contents would make tourism an asset to the nation.