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BLAZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL AND FOREIGN POTENTIAL INVESTORS IN TOURISM SECTOR OF NIGERIAN ECONOMY, PART 1.

BLAZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL AND FOREIGN POTENTIAL INVESTORS IN TOURISM SECTOR OF NIGERIAN ECONOMY, PART 1.

Tourism: This is the activities of people travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for leisure, business or other purposes. Tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires the ability to adapt constantly to customers’ changing needs and desires, as the customer’s satisfaction, safety and enjoyment are particularly the focus of tourism businesses.
At the beginning of this year (2017), Nigeria was deeply engulfed in recession occasioned by the fall in Naira value, dwindling prices of petroleum products and of course, over reliance on foreign made products. Everyone felt the pang of distress – including the unborn babies, as result of the scourge of the said recession. One of the
fundamental impacts of the recession was loss of employment by many household as a result of inability of most corporate bodies to sustain their workforce.
Economic summit embracing experts across a plethora of disciplines offered suggestions on how the government can pull Nigeria’s economy out of recession through diversification. Many of these recommendations tilted “towards developing other sectors that have potential for growth” – sectors that had long been abandoned or relegated because they were perceived to lack the capacity to be as buoyant as the oil sector. Such sectors included Agriculture, Hospitality & Tourism, SMEs, etc. So the government started adopting some of these recommendations. Our concern herein is limited to hospitality and tourism as they relate to both foreign and domestic
investments.
Sequel to the above scenario, the unforgettable lesson is that over reliance in export of petroleum product (mono economy) will continue to plunge the economy and everything else that hinges on it into destruction; hence, the need to diversify. The recession continued its slow but steady progress into the last 4th quarter of 2017 before
we were dimly bailed out of the unfriendly situation. The aftermath lesson necessitated the current administration to swing into action to avoid future occurrence.
As a result of the above, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism developed a blue print on how the Nigerian Tourism industry could be turned into a revenue generating body thus, attracting both local and foreign investors into the sector. One of the strategies is entering into several partnerships with independent tourism bodies with the aim of
turning the sector into a revenue generating business. One of those partnerships includes the world apex tourism body, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) providing capacity development for Nigerian tourism
personnel on how to grow the sector into something viable.

The culture and tourism sector which formerly were separately and apart from Ministry of Information were fused together by the current administration for efficient provision of its core mission and mandate. The cultural and tourism sector has its core mandate as a foreign exchange earner, income contributor, major employer of labour, catalyst for rural development, poverty alleviation and fostering of peace, while its mission is to promote the nation’s cultural heritage through identification, development, marketing of the diverse cultural and tourism potentials. It exclusively formulates and implements policies aimed at identifying the economy and placing it on the path of sustainable growth and development.

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTION OF FUTURE OF TOURISM INDUSTRY IN
NIGERIA.
World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2016 in line with above stated efforts of the government projected what the direct & total contributions of Travel & Tourism to the country’s GDP would be by end of 2017. But first, let us attempt to explain the difference between Direct and Total contributions as used in the report.

As at 2016, direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was about 1.7% of GDP but this was forecasted to rise by 1.1% in 2017. However we hasten to add that the figures presented in the WTTC 2017 report are proof that not so much contribution from the sector has reflected on the economy. In the last 10 months, no significant direct
contribution from Travel & Tourism to the country’s GDP. For instance, its contribution to the whole economy GDP still remains at 1.7%, same as it was in 2016. A review of tourism’s impact on the country’s GDP in the last 10 years (2007 – 2017) shows that its impact was at all time high in 2008, having contributed 2.4% to the GDP. Since 2008, its impact has been fluctuating between 1.8% and 1.5%.
INVESTMENT POTENTIALS IN THE TOURISM SECTOR.
Nigeria as the most populous country in the whole Africa has an immense cultural heritage. As a country, Nigeria is blessed with diverse culture, natural vegetation, good weather conditions, land mass and potential tourist sites. However, in the past Nigeria did not realize nor take tourism as an important economic mainstay as compared to
some developed nations of the world where tourism serves as a major income earner.

Forensic data available reveals that travel and tourism directly generated 1.6% of the total employment in Nigeria in 2016. Sequel to this is a reliable forecast of 3.4% growth of employment in 2017. Whereas total contribution to employment (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts) was 4.5% of
total employment in 2016 there is forecast of 4.3% of total employment. But what percentage of employment has been generated so far in 2017? The recent report shows that only 1.7 million jobs have been generated. This although falls short of the forecast but not far-fetched.

There has been a sustainable inter governmental collaboration keyed towards making investment in Nigeria tourism ecosystem very attractive. This intergovernmental cooperation can be gleaned from the inter phase between Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and other agencies like Ministry of Internal and External Affairs, Trade and Investment, Immigration, Security Agencies, Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism etc.
Nigerians traditionally, travel a lot locally visiting cities with historical and cultural background. On the process, the adventurers’ ones seize the opportunity to admire scenic view, watch animal natural habitations. All these areas of visitations need further investment to make them more attractive.
As expected, there is an increase in investment in the tourism sector in Nigeria currently, though the sector has not reached the desired destination as a result of low investment. However, the increase in income and employment generation is quite encouraging.
Investment in tourism jurisdiction in Nigeria is efficient and amazing avenue of creating wealth, income and employment generation. Hence we urge you to invest in the tourism sector of Nigerian economy. Why wasting time, why not seize the opportunity to invest where your funds will be recouped within a short period?

This article is not an end by itself but a means to an end. For further discussion, suggestion and/or advice on investment on tourism in Nigeria, contact the undersigned for direction. End of part 1

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Prince Joel

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