How Smaller African Countries Are Using Nigeria To Make Money Through Tourism

Created: Monday, 02 October 2017 Written by Christian C. Ozor



Kajuru castle

What is wrong with Nigeria? Abeg wetin dey do Nigeria in terms of tourism in Nigeria. I’m very angry with the way Nigeria is handling her tourism sector.

I work in a travel and tour company, and I must say that Nigeria is now a fishing ground for African countries to sell their tourism. Nigeria is not ready to develop her tourism industry.

2 weeks ago, the Zimbabwean government in partnership with their tourism agency came into Nigeria, they took 200 Nigerians, and part of them were tour guilds, consultants, travel agents and journalists. They took them to Zimbabwe in a bid to sell the Zimbabwe destination. And travel expenses of the 200 people were paid by the Zimbabwean government.

Presently, the hottest destinations for Nigerian tourists are South African, Kenya and Namibia. Nigerian tourists are visiting this places heavily. Morocco discovered this and sent their people late last year and this year 2017 to sell destination morocco as a great tourist destination for Nigerians. And it’s working fine for them, Nigerian tourists are visiting that destination.

Now Zimbabwe is following suit. Many other countries are doing more, they hire Nigerian travel agents and partners to sell their countries. As we all know, Nigerians like travelling out, they want to experience new places and adventures. Some rich folks are no longer interested in having their weddings in Nigeria. People are looking at destinations weddings. So all those destination countries most especially Africa has studied Nigeria, they know that we a great consumers, they come in and sell us their countries as destination, and we buy them.

Some few days ago in my company, we were about booking a flight for someone going to Kenya, and it was an urgent flight. We discovered that all flights from all airways from Nigeria going to Kenya has been booked. No seats available for a period of 5 days. So we booked her for the 6th day. Now wetin Nigerians dey go do for Kenya? Out of those people going to Kenya, 40% of them are going on tourism, 30% on just full business while 20% are just on business and leisure which involves a part of tourism.

All these countries I mentioned and more invests heavily on their tourism sector. They come into this country, take people (travel experts, journalist, bloggers, agents and tour guilds) from here free of charge to their countries and spoil them. Then when they return, they start selling those countries destinations as a great tourist destinations because they have been there, so they tell the stories and tourists buy into it.

My problem and anger now is that Nigeria is not selling any destination to foreigners outside the country. Even we Nigerians don’t even know much about tourist destinations in Nigeria because the Nigerian destinations are not even promoting and selling them.

In South Africa, only 40% of them possess international passport. The remaining 60% no get, dem no dey travel. The same can’t be said of Nigeria. Just go any immigration office make you see people dey queue. Everybody wan travel. I’m not saying travelling is wrong.

The Nigerian government needs to spend money in tourism, we are still wasting our time on oil. If those money budgeted for oil exploration in the North could be channelled into tourism, we will make huge amount of money with visitations of foreigners. Massive Jobs will be created.

Do we have tourist attractions and destinations in Nigeria? Yes we do but some of them are decaying away without proper management and good maintenance culture.

Take for instance Obudu cattle ranch in Cross River state. Lately, people have been complaining about some dilapidated structures in the place, the lack of maintenance around the tourist center. Obudu has even lost its appeal and beautiful touch. With all those complains you find many Nigerians trying other destinations outside the country.

Now what is wrong with Nigeria? We have the yankari tourist center and other places, why can’t the managers pump in money, maintain the places and promote it for tourists to visit. We are so lazy in this country that we leave our infrastructures to decay without maintenance. Abi the government and managers of thinks foreigners would just visit this place as a tourist center without any form of promotion bringing them here.

One of my colleague and boss visited a foreign diplomat, the diplomat said Nigeria doesn't know how to sell themselves to the outside world. He said when you get to his country, some of the perception his people who hasn't been to this place has is that of withcraft, kidnappings, and bombs flying accross people's heads. Some people back home would even ask him how he manages to live here. So, he's the one that explains to them that Nigeria is not like that, all the negative stuffs they hear about the country are mostly lies. So Nigeria should be able to sell itself, culture, tradition and heritage through tourism.

South Africa is among the 20 most visited tourist destinations in the world. They didn’t achieve that by just folding their hands and waiting for foreign tourists to just come. The South Africa tourism (SAT) spends money, they bring Nigerian celebrities and other travel bloggers for free just to promote their destinations. And Nigerian tourists would see and read their stories and then fly to South Africa to see for themselves. All of them na marketing strategy from (SAT).

Nigeria needs to wake up, brace up because the world is gradually leaving us behind. Tourism is a gold mine and the Government needs to develop that sector.  

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