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Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:00
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Nigeria is prime destination in Africa, if… --Paul Cohen

Mr. Paul Cohen, the Chief Executive Officer of Partner Concept has described Africa as the next tourism destination of the world.

According to him, a lot of people are not informed about Nigerian unique tourist market.
He said this during his recent visit to Nigeria on the invite of the NTDC for a strategic marketing research and development concept to drive the rich tourism potentialities of the country for upward brand- packaging for the American market.

He said, “Africa is the next tourism destination of the world because they have put together what all other countries are doing in tourism.  Nigeria is one of the prime destinations if the tourism potentialities are properly harnessed and packaged,” Cohen said.

“I must tell you that Nigeria is not a hard-sell as people paint it to be. There are security challenges in every country of the world, yet you have people trooping there for one reason or the other. It is because they have got it right through the right marketing strategies, right packaging plan, right tour operators and right destination management.
 
“If you did not sell, nobody will buy. If you did not inform people about what you have, nobody will ask or even know that you exist. Nobody will tell a good story about you, unless you do it yourself because you are the custodian of your products and you have a better way to tell your story; so, package it and bring people to test it; and if your home work is good, then, it will spread like a wild fire”, he added.

Cohen stated that majority of African-Americans tracde their route back to Nigeria through West Africa.

He, therefore, urged the country to start developing packages to be marketed for foreign buyers.  

Speaking further, he said, “We have to brand Nigeria along with Africa because Americans view Africa as a country and not a continent. Therefore, we have to start giving them a broad spectrum of touristic realities. Abundant leisure and historic splendours abound in Nigeria.

“In America, a tour operator will not take you to where is not tourist-friendly; and in Nigeria too, we should not take American tourist to an area that has not been certified for tourism promotion because of the state of infrastructural facilities. Not every site and destination can be ready at a time; it is a gradual process, which everyone should know and accept.”

Cohen urged that there must be a mutual and practical commitment between the public and private sector for the initiative work out.

“To make it happen, it must first be a team work. You cannot come up one day and say everyone in America should come to Nigeria; you have to put things in good shape first before inviting people.  This marketing angle is why the partner concept came on the partnership bid of the NTDC to drive tourist traffic from America to Nigeria. We are a force to be reckoned with.

“In the US, we consult for 20 countries. It has worked for them, and Nigeria with better tourism potentialities has greater chances to succeed.

“We do not deal with individuals because it will limit the strategic plan being that an individual cannot represent all the multifaceted areas of the industry in a country.

However, we work with the apex tourism authority and government, which primary duty is to create enabling environment, diplomatic run and coordination on behalf of the private sector who are automatically the driver of the tourism industry”, Cohen concluded.

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