By Stellamaris Ashinze
Lagos, Oct. 1, 2020 Search engine Google on Thursday announced a partnership with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) that sought to help the Nigerian Tourism Sector recover and grow in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Amit Sood, Director, Google Arts & Culture, said in a statement that Google and NTDC are partnering to provide training for small businesses and digital skills initiatives for individuals.
Sood added that the partnership would also include the launch of a new Google Arts and Culture collection called ‘Tour Nigeria’.
“Google Arts and Culture has worked with the NTDC over a number of months to create an online exhibition of imagery, stories and commentary highlighting some of Nigeria’s beautiful, hidden gems.
“From the Awhum Caves of Enugu to the Farin Ruwa falls of Nasarawa, the Osun Osogbo sacred grove of Osun State, and the Wikki Warm Spring of Bauchi State.
“The project will also feature stories and photos from some of the most colourful cultural festivals in the country including the Yauri Rigata Festival, and the Kano Durbar Festival.”
Sood said that Google Arts and Culture and NTDC had also launched a new ‘Explore Nigeria’ video series featuring top Nigerian social media influencers and YouTube creators.
“This video-based series highlights the best of Nigeria through the eyes of these influencers and can be found here at http://goo.gle/TourNigeria.
“Rich heritage, natural beauty and vibrant cities, Nigeria is a destination we all need on our travel shortlist soon.
“Even though 2020 continues to be a challenging year for Nigerians and travellers from around the world, I hope that this unique online experience – created in collaboration with the NTDC can contribute to further promote Nigeria’s iconic sites and capture its stories.
“And even though I can’t travel, the project inspired me to start that journey by exploring the country through the works of Africa’s first
literary Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka,“ Sood said.
Speaking on the partnership, NTDC Director-General, Folorunsho Coker, said that the tourism sector was a key pillar of Nigeria’s economy.
Coker said that the initiatives that support and promote domestic tourism are critical, not only for the sector but also because a stronger tourism sector would help Nigeria’s economy recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that an expanded tourism sector would be able to drive employment and stimulate economic growth.
According to him, initiatives like Google’s – that are grounded in data-driven insights into how the sector can be supported and grown – strengthens NTDC’s ‘TOUR NIGERIA’ strategy.
He said that the strategy sought to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria.
“The NTDC is even more convinced now of the validity of this strategy and the rightness of its path, and is excited to kick start this with the ‘TOUR NIGERIA’ collection with Google Arts and Culture.
“This partnership with NTDC will provide support for the local tourism sector including providing training programmes to enable businesses to leverage online tools they can use to grow their businesses,” the NTDC boss said.
According to him, the programme also features a digital skills training aimed at helping individuals to skill up, so they can find jobs or further develop their careers within the tourism industry.
Coker said that small and medium-scale enterprises were being assisted by way of digital migration programmes to help them get online, and expand their audience reach.
“And lastly, the partnership will create exposure for Nigeria’s tourist attractions through Google’s technology offerings including virtual reality, 360° videos, Street View, ultra-high resolution ‘gigapixel’ images and Google Arts & Culture initiatives.”
Ehimuan Chiazor, Google Country Director, said that Google was always looking for new and creative ways in which technology could foster connections between people and the arts.
She said that ‘Explore Nigeria’ was an expression of that desire and a tangible programme that demonstrated the organisation’s economic support of and commitment to Nigeria.