Creative Industries Can Help Develop Tourism Industry – Folorunsho Coker

Creative Industries have been identified as veritable avenues to enhance and promote tourism industry in any given society.

According to the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Chief Folorunsho Coker, there is a nexus among culture, the creative industries and tourism, which he said has been engaged boldly at NTDC.

Folorunsho Coker said in a position paper entitled; “Enhancing Tourism Through The Creative Industries,” that “the need for a recalibration in approach is what informed the convocation of a global conversation on “Linking Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries: Pathways to Recovery and Inclusive Development,” which would hold in Lagos from November 14 to 16, 2022 at the National Theatre in Iganmu.

“This will witness the participation of a wide range of tourism actors and stakeholders from across the world.”

Coker stated in the paper, which was made available to the media, that “The nexus between culture, the creative Industries and tourism has been one, which we have engaged boldly at the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), which I have been privileged to lead in over half a decade and it has inspired both our mediations on this close interconnections and the conception of a number of programmes. These include Tour Naija and Nigerian Flavours among others, which were designed to bolster domestic and inbound tourism in the country.

“As such, it is quite inspiring to be part of a broader and international conversation on how to advance the frontiers of this practice, under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and at this crucial period in the history of our country, and the world at large.

“It goes without much saying that the world has been hugely impacted and disrupted by the advent of natural phenomena, including COVID-19, and climate change, with the former having occasioned highly palpable effects on the global economy, which, until the recent reversals, had seen to the loss of as much as 80% of the value in many sectors. This occurred across a chain of Industries, such as those involved in creativity and hospitality, among others.”

The NTDC DG noted that a vital part of the response for recovery has been the identification of the vast potentials in the connection between the tourism and the Creative and Culture Industries (CCI), and the huge promise they hold for generating and sustaining economic activity.

He added that it was this recognition that made the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations to declare 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

According to Baba Eto of Yorubaland, “in describing the reinforcing capabilities of the Creative ams Culture Industries, for global economic recovery, within the frame of tourism, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) stated that the “creative economy and creative industries could be part of the solution, they offer an immense potential for growth, innovation and product diversification within the tourism ecosystem.”

“The case for a greater leveraging of the creative and culture industries as a crucial flank of economic recovery is hinged on the compound value of $2.3 trillion that it generated, which constitutes about 3% of the world’s GDP.

“And, the value of creative goods in the global markets rose to $509 billion in 2015 from $208 billion in 2002, highlighting the potentials of the creative sector as an engine room of economic growth.

“This is buttressed by the fact that no less than 40% of international tourist visits are driven by the need for “culture- related experiences,” of which the creative sector is a crucial aspect.

“As such, the culture and creative industries are prospective catalyst of significant recovery and a resurgent global economy. This is as evident in the more recent strengthening of demand for products of the sector, as in the expanding array of newer and more appealing offerings coming out of the sector. Hence, there is the necessity of rethinking the policy outlay and designing novel approaches to enhancing the capabilities of the sector.”

The Chief Marketer of the Nigerian Destination added that Nigeria has one of the largest and most popular creative industries in the world with an explosion of creative forms from movies to music, saying that the performance and visual arts etc is certainly the most appropriate location for the contemplation of newer pathways or approaches to a recovery that links tourism to culture and the creative industries.

“The numbers also bear witness to this, with the country’s movie industry, Nollywood, which is now one of the most sophisticated globally, being valued at close to $7 billion in 2021, and producing over 2,500 titles annually, the Nigerian music industry has been described as the second best-performing Entertainment and Media Consumer market worldwide.

“This is hinged on the innovation of its many genres, seeing to the massive boom of a category like Afrobeats. And equally attesting to the extensive degree of its appeal, digital platform have revealed that Nigerian music has crossed the billion streaming figure, motivating major international recording labels and publishing companies to seek entry into the market to partake in this collosal creative and business flourishing.

“The crosscutting allure of Nigerian music is as evident today, as it was when I shaped a cultural narrative out of it in the earlier part of my public career on the subnational level, when I created and directed the ‘One Lagos Fiesta.’ This remains, possibly, the largest festival of music and arts hosted across multiple locations in Africa’s foremost megacity.

“Beyond Music and entertainment, Nigeria has some of the greatest cultural creative assets, one of which is gastronomic, which in itself is a prime driver of tourism, both domestic and inbound. Food is a major motive for destination travel and a crucial part of the tourist experience, hence the notion of food or culinary tourism. This has become a significant area of economic activity, which generated $1,116.7 billion globally in 2019, and is estimated as earning $1,797.5 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8% between 2020 and 2027.

“The great possibilities around Nigeria’s vital cultural assets, as mentioned earlier, was a key factor in the design of the strategy around domestic tourism that led to the Tour Naija Programme, and it’s Nigerian Flavours subset at the NTDC.

“The latter has actively created awareness around the country’s culinary assets. This has not just been a platform for showcasing nostalgia, but more importantly, it is a continuous opportunity for creating backward and forward linkages between the various operators in the Nigerian food industry, towards enhancing a more virile economy,” he said.

On repositioning the industry for greater efficiency, he said that while the creative and culture industries in Nigeria are responsible for a composite 10 to 15 million jobs from the performance arts to architecture, fashion, film, radio, television, hotel and hospitality, publishing, advertising and digital marketing sectors, etc they are the largest employers of labour in the country, beyond agriculture.

He said: “As put by UNWTO, the vast potentials of these industries “to stimulate social entrepreneurship and MSMEs, empower communities, enhance competitiveness and help local economies bounce back better, still remains unexploited.” This is moreover, highly important in these times of a fundamental technological disruption, which has reconstituted the conventional ways of carrying out the business of these interconnected sectors, while equally unleashing vast novel possibilities for growth.”

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