On Monday, the Lagos State Government entrusted Taxi Drivers and Cab Operators, including Hailing Car Service Operators, Uber, Taxify, Boat, and others, as well as Community-Based Tourist Officers at the grassroots, with efficient visitor management as a means of boosting the State’s tourism sector.
Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, presented the opening remarks at a two-day Tour Guide Training for Taxi Drivers and Community Based Tourism Officers in Alausa, Ikeja.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, the Commissioner explained that the training was organised to equip participants with needed information when interacting with tourists and also bring them at par with the vision of the State Government in ensuring the growth of community-based tourism.
According to her, tourists and visitors to the State are customers and should be treated as such by everyone, especially car operators and tourism officers who usually have a close relationship with visitors to the State.
While speaking on the theme for the training, “Visitor Management: The Role of Taxi Drivers in Tourism Development”, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, who also facilitated a training session on customer service delivery at the event, enjoined taxi drivers and other participants to be customer-centric and be driven by the desire to deliver delightful service to customers at every point of contact.
She also urged the participants, especially taxi drivers, to add more value to their services by embracing the use of technology, noting that it would make their jobs easier, better and more convenient.
“You should deploy the use of smartphones, Google maps and other gadgets that would make your job to meet up with the realities of today, move with the trend and make yourself more relevant by leveraging on your years of experience as members of an organised Association”, the Permanent Secretary advised.
On her part, the Director of Research and Development in the Ministry, Mrs. Yetunde Simpson, encouraged the participants to be committed and diligent in carrying out their duties professionally with a blend of interpersonal skills and courtesy.
Mrs. Simpson noted that visitor management was important because it leaves a memorable and pleasant impression on the visitors and gives a positive image to the international community.
In her presentation, a Tourism Expert from the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chinyere Uche-Ibeabuchi, spoke on “The Role of Taxi Drivers in Tourism Development”, advising drivers to always create a good narrative about what they represent.
Uche-Ibeabuchi urged the different operators and associations to continually train their drivers on visitor management in order to impact positively on their passengers, especially as they drive potential tourists and visitors.
Her words: “Every taxi driver should see the job as a very dignifying profession. You are all potential tour guides and that is why this training has been organised for you so that you can be familiar with popular tourist routes. For you to actually guide tourists, you also need to be well informed yourself”.
The Second Vice President of Taxi Drivers Association, Lagos State Chapter, Deacon Tope Aina, affirmed that the training was an eye-opener for them and also reminded the operators of what their customers expect from them in terms of efficiency.
The training was attended by representatives of the Lagos State Taxi Drivers and Cab Operators Association, Operators of Hailing Car Services, Operators of Shuttle Services and some tourism officials across the various local government areas in the State.