The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says that reduced travel time through the use of digital map saves Nigerians nearly N200 billion a year.
Mohammed said this at the inauguration of the Economic Value of Geospatial Services by Google on Friday in Abuja.
The minister said that digital maps, popularly called Google map for location of street addresses, had also reduced travel time in the country by average of eight per cent.
Mohammed said that the ability to simply search for a location and get real time directions, using geospatial technology, had made lives much more convenient for people to move around.
He said, “Many of us cannot imagine how we got by before the advent of the digital mapping services which we now use daily.
“It is incredible to think, for instance, from today’s launched research that digital maps reduce travel time in Nigeria by an average of eight per cent.
“This reduced travel time alone saves our people nearly N200 billion a year.
“If digital mapping services have made such a difference in the last five years, we can only imagine what the next five years will bring,” he said.
The minister stated that tourism as well as arts and culture, played pivotal role in the nation’s economic recovery and growth programme.
He also said that Nigeria’s tourism industry offered great potential for medium-term growth building on the country’s rich bio-diversity and ecosystem, traditional cultural diversity, historical cities and arts and crafts.
According to him, currently, tourism and hospitality account for 4.7 per cent of the Nigerian GDP “and we know we have all the raw ingredients necessary to increase that percentage.’’
“It is now about bringing those ingredients together in a way that encourages people to experience all of Nigeria’s best features.
“As we look to make Nigeria a major tourism destination in Africa, technologies such as Google Maps, but more specifically StreetView put forward by Google, will become increasingly important on that front.
“We hope to see even more value as increasing number of people use tools like Google Street View to explore Lagos.”
Mohammed said the use of Google Street View tool could be incredibly powerful in drawing tourists to Nigerian cities, considering the impact it had had on destinations around Africa.
He disclosed that the Federal Government was looking forward to making use of Google street view tool in Nigeria to showcase its natural and cultural heritage.
The minister further said that government recognised the need to leverage on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy.
He said the use of digital maps would also help to promote and encourage patronage of agriculture, creative industry and manufactured products by operators in the tourism industry.
According to him, government is also working hard to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to promote tourism.
“We are also cutting back on bureaucracy to ensure that travellers to Nigeria can do so easily and with a minimum amount of stress.’’