Many people see tourism as something those who have time on their hands engage in. They see it as a luxury for those who can afford it. But tourism is so much more than that. It offers so much to any country that prioritizes it. In Nigeria, we have been talking of diversifying the economy. One solid aspect Nigeria can invest in and reap massively from is the Nigerian tourism industry.
Read more about Travel and Tourism
Below are 5 benefits from growing Nigeria’s tourism industry:
In an era of high unemployment rates and growing SMEs, tourism is the right way to go. When we give priority to the tourism sector, the unemployed will find avenues to render services to make it flourish. E.g. Waste disposal management, tour guides, signage printing, social media visibility, trail upkeep, etc. Tourism handles 10% of global jobs created and it is a sustainable development goal.
Through tourism, we can keep local traditions and customs when people decide to create an SME around it. For example, using amphitheaters in the country to put on a display for visitors during festivals. Also, drumming and dancing at the airport to welcome visitors is another way to create jobs and keep the culture alive. There are also traditional dancing companies who train dancers in various dances indigenous to Nigeria like Bata and Atilogun, amongst many others.
National GDP Growth
The lockdowns and border closures in 2020 affected everything. Last year, tourism alone contributed about 5.2% to the national GDP. The National Bureau of Statistics recorded about 34% of tourism’s contribution to Nigerian’s economy by creating 20% of employment in 2017. This came from tourist-related activities such as trade, entertainment and recreation, art, accommodation, food services, administrative support and other services and the transportation sector.
This year, rather than enforce more lockdowns, if the government and the people work together to uphold the COVID-19 prevention strategies, we can grow our domestic tourism industry and add more to our national GDP.
There are two ways tourism protects our environment. One is raising money to take care of the landscape, and the other is preserving nature for the public’s enjoyment. In places like national parks and conservation centres, the more partnership they have with private firms, the more the publicity for the facility. And when tourists respond, the money made is used to take care of the facilities and keep the staff who take care of that space.
Sign up to the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter
Did you know that in Dubai, they have artificial rainforest cafes? For those that find it appealing, visiting a place like Lufasi Nature Park in Lagos will blow them away. This is because being in the rainforest isn’t at all what they imagined based on their artificial creations in UAE. It is in creating conservation centres and nature parks that we preserve the environment for generations to come.
Improved Infrastructure and Security for the Locals
Tourism forces the government to prioritize infrastructural development. Without good roads and electricity, tourism would suffer in a region. But once we improve infrastructure, the locals are the ones that benefit the most.
Also, a place is only as good as its name. When the safety of lives and property are assured in a region, tourists will come and local businesses will thrive. The locals will testify of the improved security of that region, and this will attract more tourists to the area.
Greater Demand for Cultural Souvenirs
One thing tourists love is taking home keepsakes. If people know a region for a particular craft or food item, it creates a demand among tourists visiting that area. For instance, there is a word that Ogun State has great-tasting oranges. Once that presumption of that region becomes popular, the demand for oranges from that state will soar. The same thing goes for adire from the South-West, artworks from the South-South and South-East and kilishi from the North.
It is not only the influx of foreigners that can help our tourism industry thrive. When we the citizens start to appreciate what we have and shout about how fascinating Nigeria is, the world will take note. If we as a people can solve the challenges currently facing the Nigerian tourism industry, I am confident that tourism will be a huge resource for us as a people.
Featured Image Source: Lagos Photo Festival
Got a suggestion? Contact us: email@example.com