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Which way for tourism?

By Fidelia Salami

WHAT did you say?

“I have been thinking. Nigeria is richly blessed with several tourism potentials and holds strong investment capabilities which can be harnessed to stimulate our economy and diversify our revenues… The mountains, the rivers, the forests and deserts define different landscapes in the country.

The nature is in its natural state – unaffected by man’s industrial activities. Explore the nature further, you will find wildlife meets fun. Monuments and sculptures also usher you into the cities. And memorable pieces of art and structures are all story-laden.

The rich tapestry of the culture and traditional occupations of a significant number of Nigeria’s peoples are profound and impressive. Indeed, we are the laughter of the world’s happiest people.

“Looks like you are dreaming again. Tourism is a sensitive global business. Nigerian government only pays lip service to diversification without clear cut plans. Do you think government is ready to invest, grow and sustain tourism in Nigeria?

“Given the plethora of opportunities provided by tourism, it is surprising that the industry has not received adequate attention in the developing countries where most of the natural tourist sites are domiciled. Nigerians are always looking at the standards in all the tourist destinations in other parts of the world.

Nigerians make a lot of noise about foreign destinations, and we despise our country. We tend to write off just everything that is Nigerian and appreciate that by other people. Our domestic tourism is an avenue to generate wealth for an economy blessed with a rich population.

And the attractions are in their natural states. They are so unique and natural that their sight creates natural positive impressions. Unfortunately, we do not patronize them because we know very little about their existence and location. It is always greener on the other side.

The success of every child is the pride of the parent. There is a vacuum and as a stakeholder in this field, an expose on the tourism opportunities in the country will create some awareness that deserves patronage by both government and members of the local and international community.

“I know our country is rich in its natural resources, but our real wealth lies in the ability of our government to develop these tourism potentials. Professionalizing the tourism industry in Nigeria to meet global best practices is what we need now.

We have had enough of the hype. The sector needs government urgent attention. Nobody knows for sure how deep or long the recession will last. One question is relevant at this juncture: What are the success measures government is taking to curb the recession?

“The economic recession should serve as an essential tool for developing and growing tourism business in Nigeria. Being able to re-create and sustain the brand is essential.

We can only hope that government will understand now that tourism is far beyond theory and start developing, harnessing and properly package the available tourism potentials in the country to attract both international and local investors for profit.

What draws millions of visitors to a particular destination on an annual basis are the brand, infrastructural facilities and safety among other factors.

“Ring the alarm. Although government recently inaugurated a Technical Committee to undertake the review of the Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan, to majority of Nigerians, among the members of the committee, only few are capable to flag the ship.
Well, I hope it does not all end like all farces end, with a laughable bathos, with a whimper…”


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