- Written by Abiel Balogun
- Category: tourism
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It was comforting when, in April 2012, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) released an analytical report on Nigeria’s tourism that read, “travel and tourism generated 838, 500 jobs directly in 2011 (1.4 percent total employment), and is forecasted to grow by seven percent in 2012 to 897, 500.
This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines, and other passenger services excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurants and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.”
The report went further to say, capital investment in the tourism sector was N252.5 billion (Naira), adding that it would rise by 2.3 percent in 2012. It said a rise of 6.5 percent per annum was envisaged over the next 10 years. And forecast that domestic travel spending was expected to grow by 1.5 percent in 2012 to N119.4 billion (Naira), and rise by 2.4 per cent per annum to N151.5 billion (Naira) in 2022. Pertaining to GDP, the WTTC concluded that total contribution of travel and tourism was N1.232 trillion (Naira), being 3.3% of Nigeria GDP in 2011. Adding that GDP was expected to rise by 10.8 percent in 2012, and 7% per annum to N2.691 trillion (Naira) by 2022.
Despite the impressive potential of Nigeria’s tourism as highlighted by the WTTC report, Nigeria has failed to evolve into a prominent tourism destination in Africa, let alone in the world. Yet, the country is enormously blessed with several resource-based tourist attractions, including some United Nations World Heritage Sites. Nigeria officially became a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in 1975.
Statutorily, tourism started gaining momentum in 1988, when the ruling military government promulgated a decree establishing the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), and by the year 2000, the Federal Ministry of Culture & Tourism was created; thereby according tourism a priority status in Nigeria’s quest for national economic development.
Over the years, the need for conservation caused the federal government to create some national parks and reserves. To date, Nigeria has eight National Parks and some State Governments nature reserves. But these parks are not adequately funded, neither are they strategically managed to attract spending tourists. Because these parks were set up for conservation purposes only, they have not added any value to tourism development. Little wonder these parks are under the Federal Ministry of Environment, instead of the Ministry of Tourism – as obtained in other climes.
More so, ‘Cultural Tourism’, which is the most significant brand of Nigeria tourism, is not strategically marketed to attract international tourists either. Come to think of it, the bane of tourism development in Nigeria has been the lack of concerted marketing strategy for both domestic and inbound tourism. Consequently, the industry’s growth has been at a snail’s speed.
Notwithstanding the accolades that heralded the establishment of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, there been no significant development in the industry afterwards. No thanks to the mediocrity perpetuated in the administration of tourism in Nigeria. Since its creation, the Federal Ministry of Culture & Tourism has had ‘tourism-illiterates’ as substantive ministers. In fact, the ministry had been the dumping ground for career politicians with no tourism know-how.
Over the years, experts had perennially posited that, the bane of Nigeria tourism development, amongst other things, is the lack of world-class marketing and promotion programmes, targeting both local and international travel source markets.
The 2005 Federal Government of Nigeria and UNWTO facilitated Tourism Development Masterplan for Nigeria concluded that,
“The current marketing approach is very weak. The marketing of Nigeria as a tourist destination is underfunded and lacks a strategic marketing
approach. The marketing collaterals are not up to international standards; while they are informative they are not customer friendly.
A survey of tour operators in the UK, Europe and the United States of America indicated a lack of information or knowledge about Nigeria
as a tourist destination. The adoption of a niche marketing approach will be critical to the success of any future marketing strategy and therefore the success (or otherwise) in developing tourism in the country.”
Consequently, no meaningful advancement was recorded in developing Nigeria’s tourism industry, and the same fate bedevilled the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
Amazingly, the most significant development of a tourist destination in Nigeria came from a state government in the South-South region. Between 1999 and 2007, the then Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State successfully revamped and enriched the hitherto moribund Obudu Cattle Ranch and instituted the now celebrated Calabar Festival. He single-handedly turned Cross River State into the most renowned tourist destination in Nigeria. His administration also built the Tinapa Business Resort to rival Dubai.
After Obudu Ranch Resort, now called, Obudu Mountain Resort, the next notable tourist destination in Nigeria is the Bauchi State owned Yankari Game Reserve. The park is endowed with several natural warm springs and diverse plants and wildlife. It is also rich in prehistoric – early man’s - archaeological attractions. Notwithstanding the sterling ecotourism quality of Yankari Game Reserve, successive governments have done little to build world class facilities and promote the destination to attract domestic and international tourists.
In 2012, the World Bank and most international development organisations reported that Nigeria’s economy will grow at 7% in the coming years. But it did not. No thanks to the fall in the price of crude oil in the international markets that started in 2014. And by 2015, the same Bretton Wood Institutions are projecting a not more than 4% annual growth. Insisting that Nigeria’s economy must diversify to other sectors like tourism and agriculture.
The World Bank advice fell on deaf ears. Sadly, successive governments in Nigeria have no appetite to develop Nigeria’s tourism into a major domestic revenue and foreign exchange earner. And it is not because of easy crude oil money hitherto. Rather, it is due to sheer insufficient knowledge of tourism economic development potentials.
Though the clamour for economic diversification became intense in the five (2010-2015) years of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, he left no indelible footprint on Nigeria’s tourism development. He produced Nigeria’s longest serving tourism minister, Edem Duke, a Calabar hotelier, who did nothing but throw his fat weight around!
As if the industry has not suffered enough, Goodluck Jonathan’s successor, President Muhammad Buhari in October 2015, chose to scrap the Ministry of Tourism and re-assigned the former ministry’s agencies to a new Ministry of Information and Culture! Now Nigeria’s tourism industry development opportunity is back to square-one!!
After all said and done, Nigeria Tourism development would only be transformed by visionary and transformational leadership. Political leadership that makes tourism a central part of Nigeria’s national economic development strategy, and not an after-thought – which is presently the case! The approach to managing tourism in the country should be orchestrated to benchmark on the tourism comparative advantage of each geo-political zone. Each geo-political zone in Nigeria presents a different tourist opportunity, in terms of the local people’s tradition, cultural heritage, vegetation belt, landmark attractions, and socio-economic environments.
This updated article ‘Developments in Nigeria’s Tourism Industry’ is written by Joesef Karim. It is an excerpt of his book, “Travel and Tour Operations in Nigeria”, (ISBN: 978-978-922-703-7) 2nd Edition, 2013. Mr. Karim is a tourism destination marketing specialist and the Co-Founder of Afro Tourism Expo, an annual travel and tourism conference and exhibition that holds in Abuja Nigeria.
- Written by Abiel Balogun
- Category: tourism
- Hits: 2058
These new requirements have created a serious drop in the number of tourists coming to South Africa. New international arrivals of families have dropped 9.8% since the new requirements have been put into practice, according to a Forwardkeys study. Not only has the tourism industry for families been on the decrease, total international travels in general have also been on the decrease between 6.8 and 10.6%.
These new regulations are taking a toll on the South African tourist industry. While the family segment was the only tourism segment which was on the rise before the new requirements (+1.8%), the numbers are now dropping.
The new requirements state that anyone who travels with someone under the age of 18 must present an unabridged birth certificate at port entry as well as a passport and visa. These regulations are intended to counter human and child trafficking, but are now turning well-meaning visitors away.
In addition, a new requirement has been put into place which requires international visitors apply in person for their visa to South Africa. This is to gather biometric information through fingerprints. The processing centers for South African tourism, however, are often too far away from the residence of potential visitors to be a viable option.
All in all, South Africa has lost 150,000 international visitors as well as $128 million when compared with the first quarter of 2014. According to the head of an industry body the new visa rules will cost the tourism industry $540 million in yearly revenue. The new laws have been placed under review by Derek Hanekom, the South African tourism minister. The South African-based BRICS think tank has suggested regulations which are less stringent and encourages international tourism once again.
- Written by Abiel Balogun
- Category: tourism
- Hits: 1926
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has advocated the dedication of 1 percent of passenger fare of international airliners to fund the tourism sector in Nigeria.
Mohammed told the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism that other countries around the world were already implementing the 1 percent charge.
He said such money if dedicated to the tourism sector would stem capital flights, as more Nigerian would visit tourism sites in Nigeria rather than travelling abroad.
“Most countries charge airlines operating in the country and bringing people into the country, a percentage of the fare for the tourism development fund.
“This is not done here in Nigeria; we need to charge airlines like Lufthansa, Delta, British Airways, Air France and others.
“If all the airlines that come to Nigeria can devote just one per cent of their passengers’ fare to tourism development, it would assist us in developing facilities to boost tourism across the country.
“We will be coming to the senate very soon to see how this can be drafted into a law that will make it mandatory on all airlines coming in,” he said.
- Written by Abiel Balogun
- Category: tourism
- Hits: 2024
Recently some stakeholders in Nigeria's tourism industry said the sector was capable of creating millions of jobs, alleviate poverty, increase foreign exchange earnings and boost the nation’s revenue. The stakeholders made this disclosure in Abuja at the 2015 Afro tourism expo, with the theme: “Intra-Africa Transport Infrastructure: The Panacea for Africa`s Tourism Development.”
According to them, the Federal Government should also look inward to tap and invest in the huge investment opportunities and potential in the industry. Mr Adama Bah, the Guest Lecturer, said that the tourism industry was big and has numerous investment opportunities that could be used to grow the economy. “The industry is fast growing globally and it is gaining private, public and government attention and participation to boost revenue,” he said. He urged the government to develop the sector because it could be a better alternative for the diversification of the economy.
Bah said that the tourism industry cannot improve without necessary infrastructure put in place. He appealed to the government at all levels to put adequate infrastructure in place to attract investors and tourists.
In his speech, Mr Kushal Dutta, the Managing Director, JOVAGO, a hotel booking company, appealed to the government to create enabling environment for investors. Dutta said that stakeholders have being doing their best to promote and support the development of the industry in the county. He said that the role government needed to play was to make adequate provisions to improve on the nation`s tourism facilities.
“If the necessary facilities are there, it would be easier for investors to market domestic tourism products to the world, this will bring about high influx of tourists and investors into the country,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Saleh Rabo, the Vice President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), said that adequate infrastructure was the key to a sustainable tourism development. Rabo expressed dissatisfaction at the Federal Government’s decision not to have a tourism ministry, adding that it was necessary for the government to engage experts before making decision. He said that the sector was capable of creating millions of jobs, alleviate poverty, increase foreign exchange earnings and boost the nation`s revenue.
In a remark, the Chief organiser and Co-founder of the event, Afro Tourism Expo, Mr Joesef Karim, thanked the stakeholders and assured them of sustainable tourism development.
- Written by Abiel Balogun
- Category: tourism
- Hits: 1905
Tourism, no doubt, is an industry with enormous potential that can be used to generate revenue, create employment, increase foreign exchange earnings and alleviate poverty. The industry has created massive employment over the years and has also contributed to the development of the nation.
Tourism is an industry that can’t be overlooked due to its appealing natural phenomenon and resources that if properly administered will boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In this wise, the federal and state governments should at this time that there is dwindling revenue from oil and the proposed diversification of the economy emulate countries that have developed their tourism sector by investing adequately in it.
Some of such nations are the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Gambia and Kenya. Tourism development should be in the heart of the Nigeria government for it to see it as a veritable and viable industry that can serve as an alternative to oil in terms of income generation. As the country is searching for how to diversify into other areas that could generate income, tourism buffs share their thoughts on how best the sector could yield revenue even much more than crude oil.
The Co-founder, Afro Tourism Expo, Mr Joesef Karim, says that periodic expositions can be used to draw influx of tourists and investors into the country which, in turn, will help to increase the nation`s foreign exchange earnings. He said that the 2015 Afro Tourism Expo with the theme ``Intra-Africa Transport Infrastructure: The Panacea for Africa’s Tourism Development’’, recorded a huge success.
Karim noted that one of the objectives of the Expo was to stimulate development of Africa’s tourism industry.
``The expo provides opportunity for travel operators to proffer alternative solutions to the Federal Government with tourism destination structures to execute their travel and tourism policies. ``It also helps to facilitate entry permits among West African travellers and tourists.
``This involves sectoral groups partnering to package and sell tours to destinations in the sub-region,’’ Karim said.
According to him, these activities will engender the harnessing of the potential locked up in the sector to improve the economy.
The Gambian-born tourism expert, Mr Adama Bah, says the tourism industry is big and has numerous investment opportunities that can be used to grow the economy. ``The industry is fast growing globally and it is gaining private, public and government attention and participation to boost revenue,’’ he said.
He urged the government to develop the sector because it could be a better alternative in the diversification of the economy. Bah said that tourism industry cannot improve without necessary infrastructure being in place and appealed to government at all levels to ensure adequate infrastructure to attract investors and tourists.
According to Mr Kushal Dutta, the Managing Director, JOVAGO, a Lagos-based online tour booking company, the government can create enabling environment for investors.
Dutta says that stakeholders have been doing their best to promote and support the development of the industry but noted that the role government needed to play is making adequate provisions to improve on the nation’s tourism facilities.
``If the necessary facilities are there, it would be easier for investors to market domestic tourism products to the world; this will bring about high influx of tourists and investors into the country,’’ he said.
For Mr Saleh Rabo, the Vice-President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), adequate infrastructure is the key to sustainable tourism development.
Rabo expressed dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s decision not to have a tourism ministry, adding that it is necessary for the government to engage experts before making decisions.
He said that the sector was capable of creating millions of jobs, alleviate poverty, increase foreign exchange earnings and ultimately boost the nation’s revenue.
Both participants and organisers shared the view that for the tourism industry to thrive well there should be a separate ministry to manage it.
They urged the government to reconsider the merger of federal ministries and ensure that culture and tourism was excised from information.
It will be recalled that the industry was under the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation before the advent of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government on may 29, 2015.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the one day expo, concluded on Nov. 17, recorded high attendance of participants.
NAN also reports that the exhibitors that participated expressed satisfaction with the organisation and sales.
The companies that exhibited include Destination Marketing Extra Ltd, South African Airways, HASHA Travel and Tours, Travelfix.co, Camp Africa, EDC Travel and Tours, All States Travels and Tours Ltd and Chrianime Travel and Tours. (NANFEATURE)
Source: NANFEATURES/Vol. 9/No. 244/2015 (Dec. 1) Raising Nigeria’s Earning via Proper Tourism Administration, By Idris Olukoya, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
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