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Aug 19, 2014
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS FOR RESOURCE DIVERSIFICATION 11TH MARCH, 2011.
BY MUNZALI A. DANTATA DIRECTOR GENERAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM (NIHOTOUR), ABUJA, NIGERIA www.nihotour.org [email protected]
TABLE OF CONTENT
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Abstract Keywords Preamble Problem aim and objective Review tourism resource in Nigeria Methodology key findings analysis of tourism situation in Nigeria expected outcome of tourism in Nigeria challenges of tourism resource prospect of diversifying conclusion recommendation references
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ABSTRACT This paper appreciates tourism among other economic sectors as a veritable economic industry that can transform the socio-economic lives of a people that are faced with low per capita income, unemployment, poverty and economic malaise only if the tourism potential resources are identified, harnessed, developed and packaged into a tourist product. The paper sees tourism development and promotion as a way of diversifying the nations mono cultural economy. The challenges here are not unconnected with those of unawareness of the large population, lack of leisure time and disposable income, security, financial and economic fraud, poor planning of the sector, non regulation and unco-ordinated approach to tourism matters by the public sector to encourage the private sector especially in pursuit of tourism organisation, development, accessibility, marketing, capacity building, investment, information, funding and legislation among others. The paper also examined prospects of diversifying the industry identifying conducive environment created through the institutional structures to harness the available mass tourism resources in the country, the formulated tourism policy and the development master plan, widespread investments in the travel, hospitality and tourism outfits, attitude of Nigerians towards holiday and travels, existence of political and legislative instruments to fast track tourism programme implementation. The paper conclude that tourism if developed will add value to the national economy through job creation, foreign exchange generation hence solving most social, economic and political problems. Consequently, the paper recommend that despite all the governments efforts in transforming the tourism industry and the economy, it need a strong political will that shall pursue the backing and funding of the tourism policy, the review and the implementation of the 2006 tourism development master plan to organise and regulate the industry for the well being of the citizens and the nation at large.
Key words: Tourism Products Services Resources Development Diversification Market Promotion Policy master plan Challenge
PREAMBLE Nigeria covering a total of 923768km2 along the West African Gulf of Guinea is an important centre of biodiversity of tropical rainforest, coastal plains, mangrove and the Savannah zones geographically with a population of about 150 million people. The fact also remain that the country is mono-economy based in petroleum oil generating over 80% of the nations foreign exchange and employing very low labor force as the agricultural sector which the predominant occupation of Nigerians. Tourism in Nigeria is still in its infancy considering the large accumulation of resources which are yet untapped and the institutional structure which is yet to be regulated to compete favorably with other fast growing tourism destinations. Successive governments have tried in their very best to put the industry in the national economic map but sector could not meet up with the exclusive listing. Even though rich in ecotourism and business tourism potentials and constrained by figurative and factual analysis to plan development, the political will and legislation are far from regulating the industry to keep abreast with both the national tourism policy and master plan implementation program in line with the United Nations Framework on sustainable tourism development efforts. The interest in tourism by the Nigerias government started way back in the 1960s with the Obasanjos regime in 1976 establishing the Nigeria Tourism Board (NTB) now Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) via Decrees No Decree No. 54 of 1976 reviewed to Decree No. 86 of 1991 and giving it a preferred sector status respectively. Master Plan on tourism development in Nigeria started way 1982 with a tourism development policy first rolled out in 1990. To further consolidate the quest for quality service delivery in the tourism industry, the government created the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture to actualise the dream of catching up with the global train in tourism development. The Government of Nigerian in her quest to diversify the economy and the tourism industry in particular decided to take some measures towards promoting the travel and tourism sectors. These measures include the establishment of the Presidential Council on Tourism, Federal Ministry of Tourism and its Departments and Agencies with same at the States level and Local Tourism Committees which falls in line with the provisions of the National Tourism Policy (NTP) of 2005, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) of 1992 and the Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan of 2006. With the adoption of a Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan and the National Tourism Council, harnessing tourism resources and diversifying such to compete favorably with other major economic sector given its socio-economic and cultural wellbeing cannot be over emphasized.
2.0 PROBLEM For the tourism industry as a sector of the Nigerian economy, it is not in dispute that it has abundance of resources that can diversified to transform the socio-economic lives of the populace yet, the sectors performance is nowhere in tune with turning the economy into a foreign exchange earner. The tourism industrys various sectors are yet to have adequate, quality and standard development efforts including the building of its capacity in the areas of natural resource of the national parks, game reserves, beaches, plateau, forests and other natural spots; transport (either air, land and water); the accommodation with hotel, hostel, shared apartment, guest houses, camps etc); the catering services (i.e. Restaurants, Cafes, fast food shops clubs, bars etc); Entertainment (i.e. Museums, cultural shows, night clubs, drama & dances); souvenir providing works of carvings, weavings, sculptures and various art works including managers and operators of attractions i.e. parks and events i.e conferences, fairs, exhibitions, festivities among others. Basic among the problems of developing the tourism industry in a bid to diversify the economy include those of:Low level of awareness by the citizens of tourism and its benefits; Lack of regulatory legislation; Low disposable income to pursue tourism activities; Niger Delta and Boko Haram Militancy; Non professionalization of the industry; Non implementation of the 2006 Tourism development master plan and Lack of political will to pursue tourism development to the latter.
3.0 AIM AND OBJECTIVES The aim of this paper is to have the tourism sector contribute maximally to the national economy as a major export earner like the petroleum and the agricultural sectors of the economy. This is to be achieved through the appraisal of the tourism resources of the nation and the combination of both natural and human capacities to transform the industry into a job creating and foreign exchange earner that will meet the socio-economic well being of the nation at large.
TOURISM From the recommended definition of terms, the United Nations (UN) Statistics Commission and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) (1991), defined tourism to Includes the activities of people traveling away From their usual environment for leisure Business and other purposes. The source further stressed that the activities of these Visitors includes: Purchasing goods and services; Traveling to, from and within a destination and Affecting various ways of the natural and social environment. The word visitor as explained by the body and understood by the researcher is any person traveling to a place other than his usual environment for less than 12 months and whose main purpose of trip is other than the exercise of any activity remunerated from within the place visited. The visitors within the scope of the definition can be seen to be tourism which is a subject of a traveler who undertakes this between two or more localities within their country of usual residence (domestic tourism) or outside their country of nationality (outbound) (cit). The critical distinction here is that the visitor is away from his/her designate environment to other area different from where they normally live, work and conduct other day to day activities. The implication of this is that these activities involve the demand for services from various sectors of the economy thereby providing for the component travel inputs which qualifies it as an industry (Inskeep: 1999). ANTECEDENTS TO TOURISM TRAVEL The main reason why people undertake tourism travel as credited to McIntosh (1974); Medlik et al (1981); Robinson (1976) and UNWTO (1999) are purposely for the following: Leisure; Recreation; Pilgrimage; Medical treatment; Family affairs; Festival; Sporting events; Conference; and Studies. THE TOURISM INDUSTRY Inskeep (1991) gave a clear cut distinction of the components of the travel and tourism industry, which is a fundamental base of this research study. Preparatory to the components is the UNWTO (1999) definition of the travel industry which