Nigeria has a great diversity of people and cultures. It is highly regarded as a destination for its Art and Culture.
Over the years, tourism has become vital to Africa’s economy. In 2019 it contributed to over seventy percent of the GDP and also attributed to the employment of over 200 million people. Many African countries benefit greatly from it as it is an important economic sector in their country.
NIGERIA TOURISM SECTOR
Nigeria offers a large variety of tourist attractions. According to the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS), the tourism sector contributes about 34 percent of the country’s GDP and account for twenty (20%) percent of employment creation in the country. Nigeria offers various forms of tourist attractions such as business, cultural, and wildlife tourism. This sector seems to be unexploited due to poor modern infrastructure facilities.
Nigeria recorded a total of 5 million tourists in 2016, ranking 35th in the world in absolute terms. The reality is that the larger countries frequently perform better in comparison to the actual number of guests. But when we compare the number of tourists with the population of Nigeria, it becomes comparable to 0.025 tourists per resident. In the world, Nigeria is ranked 164th and in West Africa, it is ranked 8th.
Nigeria generated around 321 million US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 0.073 percent of its gross domestic product and approximately 34 percent of the international tourism in West Africa.
Nigeria Revenue in Tourism. Source: worlddata.info
In 1995, tourism revenues amount to 47 million USD which is about 0.11 percent of the national product. This corresponded to about 1.03 million tourists at that time and about 46 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country’s dependence on tourism has decreased noticeably. In the year 2020 survey, the revenue now amounts to 321 million USD, accounting for 0.074 percent of the gross national product.
Nigeria has a lot of tourist attractions such as the extended and broad rives and oceans beaches, rare wildlife ranging from the tropical forest, magnificent waterfall, some new growing cities, and climate conditions conducive for vacations. Also, it has a traditional way of life preserved in local custom, rich and different handicraft, and other colorful product which shows the native art and lifestyle.
AFCFTA AND NIGERIA TOURISM
Tourism in Africa is said to increase positively. In recent years the number of tourist has grown, and when it comes to tourism, Africa is the fastest growing market in the world. It is expected that the AFCTA would also increase the number of tourists and travelers within the continent. As the agreement is set to remove trade barriers and allow free flow movement of people, goods, and services across the continent.
With increase in intra-African trade, there will also be an increase in intra-African travel. As it is important for regional trade, they will be a rise in participation in conferences and exhibitions and more general trade and investment learning journey in the coming years to promote understanding of African diverse market by African-based enterprises seeking partnerships and opportunities across the continent.
According to the travel and tourism competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum in 2017, Nigeria ranks a low 129th out of the 136 African countries compared to Ghana and South Africa which rank 120th and 53rd respectively. Factors for this low ranking include low prioritization of the tourism industry by the government, poor infrastructural facilities, and insecurity challenges. All these have resulted in inactivity towards tourism in the country, reflected in an increase in outbound travels to destinations like Ghana and South Africa – and resulting in a loss of revenue.
The development of tourism in Nigeria is not only achievable by the government alone but with a collective contribution of the private community. The government needs to reduce the fear of prospective investors as well as a tourist by developing a strong political will to address insecurity challenges.
Tourism has great potential to generate revenue in Nigeria, for instance, job creation within the tourism sector will lead to an increase in tax revenue, greater spending and consumption by a considerable workforce, and an increase in VAT revenues from tourists.
The potential of the tourism industry in Nigeria to generate sustainable revenues that will rival current earnings from crude oil cannot be overemphasized. Travel and business tourism are great catalysts for greater intra-African trade. With the AFCFTA agreement, it is expected that there will be an increase in trade opportunities, and only countries who seek to improve the experience of their business travelers will significantly advance their trade opportunities. Therefore, the first step toward harnessing the benefits of AFCFTA within the Tourism sector is building and innovating the country’s travel and tourist infrastructures.
- “Development and importance of tourism for Nigeria”. Worlddata.info, accessed 18th July 2022.
- “Tourism- Nigeria’s untapped goldmine”. Agusto & Co, accessed 18th July 2022.
- “Nigeria Tourism Statistics 1995-2022”. Macrotrends, accessed 19th July 2022.