I had the opportunity to visit Proto Golf Club Resort on the outskirt of Kano City, along with my colleagues for a day out. To my surprise the resort and golf course was well laid out and maintained. In my view Nigeria has great prospects when it comes to tourism. A country with diverse landscape, beautiful scenery, unique culture and many historic significant cites where domestic tourism have been a thriving industry. Nigeria has huge tourist potential and can become one of the leading tourism destination in West Africa, if the tourist potentials are maximized to its full extent.
Tourism is a vital sector to every nation in the world. It is not just about people going on vacation from one place to another. It is important because it helps the country’s economy, through touristic attractions exports. Let’s discuss tourism in general.
Tourism has been defined as travel for pleasure or business. It may be international or within the traveler’s country, what is called domestic tourism. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) however, has gone a bit further to define tourism as travelling to and staying in places outside one’s usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes.
Tourism has the potential to significantly contribute to a nation’s GDP and many countries have taken advantage of this. A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or man made built beauty, offering leisure, adventure and amusement. After undertaken little research on Nigeria, it has come to my knowledge that the country has about 200 million population, which means it has a tremendous potential of domestic tourism. Tourism can offer bunch of benefits to local economy few of them are:
• Job creation and availability of employment opportunities
• Income generation that will help alleviate poverty
• Pride in our cultural heritage
• Preservation of ecosystem and biodiversity
• Attraction of foreign investment
• Promotion of local communities where the tourist sites exist
• Human development index
• Skilled labor for services sector and related services.
• Hospitality services such as hotels and resorts
• Transportation services such as airlines, cruise boats, trains, and cabs
• Food services such as restaurants
• Entertainment services such as amusement parks, theaters, cinemas, and entertainment
• Local craftsmen like souvenir makers
• Shopping malls
Nigeria has been an oil depended economy for so long and it’s about time the country should be looking to diversify and take steps into consideration and act accordingly. Indeed, there are huge prospects for the tourism industry in Nigeria that will benefit the population and bring about the much needed development for the country. The United Arab Emirates tourism based economic model is good role example to adopt, to developed Nigeria’s tourism industry for tourists around the world to visit. This will attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), give a boost to Nigerian economy in general and tourism industry in particular.
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Dr. Shahid Khan, is an Associate Professor, Skyline University Nigeria. He holds a PhD from Trinity University, United States and B.Sc & M.Sc in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Wisconsin, USA.
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