During festive holidays, tourist centre are expected to play host for fun lovers. But then, is the government at all levels taking the good advantage of the huge money in tourism? In most time, tourism accounts for a big chunk of the Internally Generated Revenue (I.G.R.). As a matter of fact in 2011, tourism contributed to 9% of global GDP of value of over six trillions dollars. It also accounted for two hundred and fifty five million jobs. Meanwhile, over the next 10 years the industry is expected to grow by an average of 4% annually and by 2012 it is anticipated that it will account for three hundred and twenty eight million jobs and ten trillions dollars global revenue. This huge amount or this huge revenue potentials explain why the senate would want the country’s national monuments to be turned into viable tourist site.
For instance, New York in the US parade monuments like the statue of liberty, the empire state building and the central park rake in millions of dollars from scores of tourists whom daily visit those national monuments.
Here in Africa, South Africa takes pride in table mountain national park.
While Zimbabwe rakes in huge revenue from daily tourist adventure to the Victoria Island falls.
Nigeria can not be said to be blank in tourist attraction at least we can still parade monuments like the Yankari Game Reserve, Lake Chad, Zuma Rock, Obudu Resort and Ikangusi Warm Spring, the ancient town of Badagry, among others.
The questions however are:
• Are we indeed maximising the great potentials of the natural tourist site God has blessed this country with?
• Based on huge revenue forecasts and job-revenue opportunity, how best can Nigeria tap from this global rich revenue source?
• What are the new tourist potentials that can be developed in to world standard?
What about our carnivals? Definitely, we have alot of cultural things that could actually fall in place as far as tourism is concerned. They are very marketable. Naturally, tourism can have a direct positive impact on Nigerian economy. Such as, revenue generation, creation of employment opportunities, infrastructural development, preservation of cultural values and wildlife, etc.
It is hightime the government know that tourism indeed, is a revenue earner. Let us begin to view the tourist attractions we have around.
In Bayelsa, oil was first discovered at Oloibiri, the place suppose to be a tourist centre where people will come and learn but it is not. So, the government should see how to derive revenue from this place including the white man grave.
For instance, Cross river state is earning so much from tourism because it’s present and previous government knows what is tourism. The governor is investing in it and deriving from it. So, I expect other leaders (state governors) to follow suit. The federal government should also know that tourism has jack up the internally generated revenue of the nation, so they should invest more in tourism. There is nothing like amusement, it keeps people going. We need to invest in our tourism.
CHALLENGES AGAINST MAXIMISING TOURISM POTENTIALS
A country like ours surely has peculiar challenges that is hindering to tourism development, such as, insecurity, farming and food crisis, visa restrictions, illiteracy, lack of electricity, poor policies and infrastructure, etc.
• INSECURITY: Tourism involves inviting foreigners and contribute to the economy. Is the country secured? Because when Nigerians are being kidnapped here and there how can you convince a tourist to come into the country and contribute to the economy.
• IGNORANCE: We have many would-be tourist attraction sites scattered among various states in the country but we are ignorant. Our inability to discover tourism advantage is due to our over reliance on oil and crude funds.
• DISLOYALTY: Let us see our country as our country, (we should have love for the country). When you are in position, you should discharge your duties diligently. We need to develop our tourist centres, then we could convince foreigners to come in.
We rely on government to do so many things for us, but at the end, they achieve nothing. Tourism is a profession. As a common man we need to do other things to improve its potentials so that we can benefit from it:
• PRIVATISATION: We need to allow private sector to take over some of these things. Even the monuments themselves, we should privatise them so that they would be more efficient and effective than what it is today.
• SINCERITY: We need to be very sincere. For instance, you forgot your passport in a hotel room with the assurance that you would get it back. Surely, you would like to go back for tourism. But contrarily, somebody has stolen your wallet, therefore, you wouldn’t like to go there again. We need to have integrity and good behaviour.
• CHEERFULNESS: For instance, in Dubai, you would see people welcoming you with a lot of smile and treat you nicely with questions like “how can we help you?”. Contrarily, arriving in Nigeria, then meeting custom and immigration officers at the airport saying “why do you come to Nigeria?”, instead of welcoming the visitors which will encourage them to come next time.
Hmmm!!! It might be funny. How do you smile when you are hungry, when there is no fuel and how do you smile in unpleasant situations? Alhamdulillah!!!
” We need to smile more often, it is healthy.”