Nigeria, dubbed ‘Africa’s Giant,’ may be lacking in many areas, but tourist attraction sites are not one of them. With a number of top breathtaking spots like the Obudu Mountain Resort, Olumo Rock, Yankari National Park, Ngwo Pine Forest, Awhum Waterfall, and Gashaki-Gumpti National Park, among many others, Nigeria has proven that she can be a worthy competitor in the tourism industry in terms of availability of attractive locations for tourists.
Despite these hard facts however, the tourism industry in Nigeria is still majorly underdeveloped. Nigeria is still not among Africa’s top 10 international tourist destinations, despite being one of the largest nations in the African region. Nigeria is ranked 129th in the world on the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, with a score of 2.8 (on a scale of 1-7). These figures reveal that Nigeria has a number of significant tourism-related issues to overcome.
The cultural significance of various locations of interest is one of the factors that draws tourists to them. Nigeria’s culture is diverse and fascinating, and with adequate representation, it has the potential to help the country compete effectively on the global stage. Unfortunately, the country’s deep culture is mostly ignored in favor of emulating foreign cultures.
Taking advantage of and rebranding our original cultural identity would go a long way in revitalizing the tourism industry, thus increasing its capacity for revenue generation and international recognition.
In order for tourism to flourish successfully in any country, certain infrastructural conditions must be met, such as decent roads, reliable electricity, potable water, etc. Nigeria, regrettably, has issues in all three of these aforementioned areas. Aside from these realities, many of Nigeria’s most popular tourist attractions are located in rural areas with limited infrastructure.
The problem with this is that tourists will be less likely to visit these locations if they are not assured of enough facilities to ensure their comfort. If these infrastructural concerns are addressed however, a turnaround in the tourism industry is sure to be observed.
Some media outifts work actively to keep the public informed on the security challenges that the world faces in its various regions. This means that foreigners and potential tourists are constantly aware of the security challenges that Nigeria faces, such as terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and a host of others.
If terrorism and other security concerns continue to plague Nigeria, the country’s tourism sector will face significant challenges, since few people would choose to visit a country where there are so many threats to their safety and security.
On the minimal financing and investment, the industry is grossly underfunded in comparison to its potential for generating income and revenue, as well as creating jobs for Nigerians. Nigeria has prioritized the oil sector over numerous economically viable industries such as agriculture and tourism in recent decades. As a result, the tourism sector has essentially moved at a snail’s pace, with little possibility for improvement of the existing situation.
If the government of Nigeria takes active steps to correct these and many other issues confronting the development of the tourism and hospitality sector in the country, there is promise of a great turnaround leading to improved international representation and increased revenue for the country as a whole.