The Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr Folorunsho Coker, says the Ofala Festival is an asset, which can be further developed into regional and global cultural event.
Coker said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
“The just concluded 18th Ofala Festival of the traditional ruler of Onitsha remain a unifying factor that connects diverse cultures, which brings people together from all walks of life.
“The Ofala among other cultural festivals in Nigeria showcases the rich culture of our people through dance, colourful attire, traditional foods among others,” he said.
He added that the festival would boost local economy and encourage unity of the people whilst creating value on many micro platforms.
Coker emphasised the need for collaboration among tourism stakeholders such as airlines, hotels, tour operators and festival owners, to create a festival economy in tourism.
He also called on tourism stakeholders to come up with all-inclusive packages that both foreign and local tourists can easily consume, and also packages that were “bite-sized” and digitally driven for consumers.
The NTDC boss also encouraged the use of new media in telling the country’s stories globally, adding that digital revolution is available to drive tourism to generate the values needed.
“It is expedient for us to explore the new media, which has grown beyond print and the conventional electronic media.
“The new media/social media provide wider coverage and dissemination of information about our activities even to the global community, the impact is exponential,” he said.
The DG noted that tourism remained a central pillar of economic growth in many countries, adding that the country could also benefit from the sector in like manner.
He said the corporation was prepared to assist cultures, communities and festivals, to attain profitable tourism height.
“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.
Coker, who referred to the recent Onitsha Ofala Festival as wonderful exploit of tourism showcase, expressed delight on the conscious efforts by the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe , to preserve the cultural heritage.