There is no denying that Nigeria is a country blessed with a beautiful landscape. It has a patch of distinct regions and its diverse landscape makes it ideal for a wide range of plants and animals. After I read about the horrific experience of a Nigerian woman in Tanzaniawho went there for a vacation, it made me think deeply about tourism in Nigeria, which prompted me to write this article.
Tourism is indeed an attractive development sector in many countries, however, despite its enormous potential in Nigeria, the industry has been neglected for many years. According to 2019 statistics before the covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector contributed $8.9 trillion to GDP, meaning that 10.3% of global GDP came from tourism, including 7% of total global exports .
In Africa, in Tanzania, the tourism sector is after the manufacturing sector in contributing to the national income of the country. In 2020, the country’s tourism receipts totaled around US$1.4 billion, while it reached US$2.5 billion in 2019. Indeed, the country of Tanzania has earned and continues to earn so much revenue from its tourism sector.
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Many Europeans and Africans have found the country a cool place for vacations, honeymoons, birthdays, etc. But then I started wondering what Tanzania Nigeria lacks when it comes to tourist attraction centers. I have seen countless photos of the beautiful beaches in Tanzania and can confidently say that Nigeria also has plenty of similar beaches which are often one of the most sought after locations in Tanzania.
Lagos alone has over 30 beautiful beaches with a serene environment where one can relax and have fun. I once visited a beautiful beach in Lagos, Landmark beach specifically, and frankly it had so many similarities to the ones I saw in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Stunning scenery, neat and fun spots, serene and beautiful surroundings make it a perfect weekend getaway site in Lagos.
One thing I discovered is that Nigeria has an abundance of beautiful places that can be developed into a suitable location for tourist attractions. Unfortunately, the government has failed to utilize these resources which are already present in the country and waiting to be developed. Some of the neglect can be attributed to Nigeria’s heavy reliance on oil since the oil boom of the 1970s.
Nigeria is a tourist paradise with enormous economic potential. The country is endowed with a plethora of historical sites, monuments and very diverse cultural heritages. The benefits to the tourism industry in Nigeria would be enormous if they could intentionally develop its tourist attractions.
There are so many things that tourism can have a big impact on the country. It is an important source of jobs, as jobs will be created in several sectors and sub-sectors, including; catering services, transport, travel services, hospitality, leisure, entertainment, etc. Money spent by foreigners could also be an important source of foreign currency.
There will be less dependence on the oil sector, as diversification into tourism will significantly improve the country’s economy. Tourism is also a catalyst for development and rapid urbanization, with a great impact on the preservation of the environment.
The government should understand that this country has the resources and the beautiful landscape to become a top tourist destination in the world. Therefore, they should take an active role in the development of tourist destination centers throughout the country and monitor the revenue this will generate for the country.
If the government eventually decides to develop the tourism sector in the country, it will have to make sure to get rid of the lackluster maintenance culture. It is not enough to develop these places, there must be constant maintenance in these places and also improve the security in the country to make it safe for tourists.