Tourism is a very important part of human existence. It is what helps us to relax and travel the world when we need to relax and rest from the pressure of work.
It brings people together from different backgrounds and different parts of the world. In addition to all these, tourism is a great source of revenue. In fact, several countries such as the United Arab Emirates have tourism as their second source of revenue after oil.
Nigeria also has a great potential as a tourist destination but this potential has not be tapped and the time has come to do so since oil will not last forever and a key agenda of the present administration is how to diversify the economy. In this article, we will be looking at steps that can be taken to improve tourism in Nigeria.
Ways of Improving Tourism in Nigeria:
1. Improve peace
Peace is a vital requirement for economic growth and tourism is one of the ways of growing an economy. No matter the tourism potential of a place, peace must be prevalent for foreigners to visit such a place for tourism purposes.
As at the fourth quarter of last year, Nigeria was the third most terrorized nation in the world. How can tourism thrive in an environment like that?
Foreigners especially in developed worlds take their lives seriously not like the case in Nigeria so for the tourism sector in this country to thrive, peace has to prevail.
2. The Government Must Show Interest
Let’s be frank the government of this country is not interested in tourism. You hear of politicians going for vacation in Dubai when we have natural tourist attractions in Nigeria that only need to be developed.
Dubai tourist attractions are artificial but our leaders prefer to go their rather than develop what we have here for all to enjoy.
We have a federal ministry in charge of tourism and several parastatals under it but they have not developed the tourism potentials of Nigeria.
The government agencies responsible must rise up to develop the aspect of our economy if tourism is to be boosted in Nigeria.
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3. Train Nigerian Citizens in Tourism Development
Another reason why tourism has not been functional in Nigeria is because of lack of manpower to develop the sector.
Not many people are keen on tourism since Nigerians prefer to fly to other countries for vacation rather than develop our country’s potential. Consequently there are no Nigerians that have training in the area of tourism development.
We must train personnel in the line of tourism development in foreign countries if need be so that they will return home and help to develop our nation’s rich potentials.
4. We Need to Reduce Our Dependence on Oil
One of the reasons why our tourism sector has not grown is because of our over dependence on oil. We have refused to explore other means of generating revenue forgetting that oil will finish eventually.
As the present government claims to be interested in economy diversification, let it explore this lucrative source of revenue for the economic growth of the country.
5. Corruption Must be Checked
Corruption has been implicated in several problems in Nigeria but tourism is not left out. Corrupt government officials may be siphoning funds allocated for the development of the tourism sector in the country.
To deal with this, the government must monitor funds released for this purpose and ensure they are used to achieve the goals. If corruption in the tourism sector can be taken away, tourism development might just have a chance at thriving in Nigeria.
6. Involve the Private Sector
If the government is not interested in developing the tourism sector, it can involve the private sector for private investors to invest in the sector.
This will eliminate many problems such as corruption, diversion of funds, slow implementation of policies and the likes. Many sectors of the economy have been privatized so tourism can also be privatized if it has to be.
7. Involve Foreign Investors
As crazy as this sounds, foreign investors who see the potential of tourism in Nigeria will be happy to invest in it to develop it and make it functional.
There is so much money to be made in this sector and people in the developed world know that. Give them half a chance in a peaceful environment and they will develop tourism in Nigeria to an unimaginable height.
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8. Reduce the Penchant for Social Stratification
It sounds funny but the government may not be willing to develop Nigeria’s tourism sector because it will afford average Nigerians the privilege of enjoying tourism without having to fly out of the country.
They want a clear distinction between the rich and the poor but that will change if we begin to enjoy our own natural tourist attractions. We must get rid of this mentality if we want to develop this sector for all to enjoy and even attract foreigners.
9. Develop Rural Areas
Most of the tourist attractions are in relatively rural areas where basic social amenities are lacking. Tourists that visit the places may not find them comfortable because there are no good roads, hotels and other things that make life comfortable, to develop the tourism sector and make it functional, rural development must be made a priority as that is the reason most Nigerians go abroad for vacations.
10. Carry Out Research
Places with tourism potentials cannot be found out unless they are searched out. To be able to develop tourism, the government must send out trained experts to search for potential areas that can be developed as tourism centres.
For instance there are these caves on the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State that are big enough to seat 300 people comfortably and they have been in existence for centuries.
I am sure the tourism ministry is not aware of such a place because no proper search has been carried out. This must be done to uncover the numerous tourist attractions in the country in order to develop them.
Tourism is lucrative and is a good option for an oil-dependent nation like Nigeria. If the government is serious about economy diversification then this is a great option for them.
This will not only generate revenue but it will also attract potential investors who may end up investing in the country to move it forward as we want to be among the most industrialized nations of the world by 2020.Click here to see the latest Jobs opportunities in Nigeria.
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