There is no disputing the fact that Nigeria is a country that is blessed with a beautiful landscape. It has a patch of distinctive regions and its diverse landscape makes it ideal for a broad range of plants and animals. After I read about the horrible experience of a Nigerian lady in Tanzania, who went there for a vacation, it spurred me to give a deep thought about tourism in Nigeria, which further triggered me to write this piece.
Tourism is indeed an attractive development sector in many countries, however, despite its enormous potential in Nigeria, the industry has been neglected for many years. According to statistics in 2019 before the covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector contributed $8.9 trillion to GDP, which meant 10.3% of global GDP came from tourism, including 7% of the world’s total exports.
Coming down to Africa, in Tanzania, the tourism sector is after the manufacturing sector in contributing to the country’s national income. In the year 2020 tourism receipts in the country totaled approximately 1.4 billion U.S dollars, while it reached 2.5 billion U.S dollars in 2019. Indeed the country of Tanzania has earned and is continuously earning so much revenue from its tourism sector.
A lot of Europeans and Africans have found the country a cool spot for vacations, honeymoons, birthdays, etc. But then, I began to ask myself what Tanzania has that is lacking in Nigeria as regards tourists attraction centers. I have seen countless pictures of the beautiful beaches in Tanzania and I can confidently say that Nigeria also has a lot of similar beaches which is often one of the desired spots in Tanzania.
Lagos alone has over 30 beautiful beaches with a serene environment where one can go to relax and as well have fun. I once visited a beautiful beach in Lagos, Landmark beach precisely, and frankly speaking, it had so many similarities with the ones I saw in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Beautiful landscape, neat, fun spots, serene and beautiful environment, making it a perfect weekend getaway site in Lagos.
One thing I got to discover is that Nigeria has an abundance of beautiful locations that can be developed to make it a suitable place for tourist attractions. Unfortunately, the government has failed to utilize these resources that are already present in the country waiting to be developed. Part of the neglect can be attributed to Nigeria’s heavy reliance on petrol since the oil boom of the 1970s.
Nigeria is a tourist haven with enormous economic potential. The country is endowed with a plethora of historical sites, monuments, and richly diverse cultural heritages. The benefits to Nigeria’s tourism industry would be enormous if they can be intentional about developing its tourist attractions.
There are so many things that tourism can greatly impact the country. It is a significant source of employment, as jobs will be created across several sectors and sub-sectors which include; food services, transportation, travel services, hospitality, recreation, entertainment, etc. Money spent by foreigners could also be an important source of foreign exchange.
There will be less reliance on the oil sector, as diversification into tourism will greatly improve the economy of the country. Tourism is also a catalyst for development and rapid urbanization, with a great impact on environmental conservation.
The government should understand that this country has the resources and beautiful landscape to become a top tourist destination in the world. Therefore, they should play an active role in developing tourist destination centers throughout the country and watch how much revenue it will generate for the country.
If eventually, the government decides to develop the tourism sector in the country, they should ensure to jettison the lackluster maintenance culture. It is not just enough to develop these places, there should be constant maintenance in such locations and also improve security in the country to make it safe for tourists.