Nigeria, also known as the “Giant of Africa” and Africa’s largest economy with a GDP of $397.47 billion ahead of South Africa with a GDP of $376.67 billion, has undermined the power of Tourism as a great source of revenue for the country.
Countries such as Dubai, South Africa and Kenya have made great returns for their government in the areas of Tourism.
As Nigeria aims to boost its economy and increase its revenue from sources such as the Agricultural sector (25.08% of GDP), Trade sector (16.86% of GDP) and the Real Estate sector (6.85% of GDP), Oil and Gas industry’s (8.86% OF GDP), Tourism should be greatly considered as a means to diversify the economic sector that would contribute largely to GDP. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, Tourism is one of world’s largest economic sectors, supporting one in 10 jobs (319 million) worldwide and generating 10.4% of world GDP.
As at 2018, Dubai, an oil producing country like Nigeria had a GDP of $102.67 billion, derives less than 1% of its GDP on oil and about 20% was contributed by tourism. Although Oil was previously Dubai’s main source of revenue, it ventured into exploring the Tourism industry, which has been beneficial to the growth of its economy. Today, Dubai has focused its economy on tourism by building hotels and developing real estate.
Nigeria should adopt Dubai’s strategy of Tourism to direct the flow of foreign investment into the country. Dubai is ranked as the world’s 7th most visited city by international tourists. Nigeria which has 36 states with various tourist attractions should allocate more attention to the development of this sector which has not been harnessed. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimated revenue related to tourism and travel in Nigeria to exceed $10 billion in 2007, and to account for approximately 6% of the gross domestic product. Over 10 years have elapsed and this has still not become a reality for Nigeria.
Currently the main tourist attractions are situated in;
- Idanre Hills, Ondo State
- Obudu, Cross River State
- Yankari National Park, Bauchi State
- Kainji National Park, Niger State
- The Ancient Nok Settlement, Kaduna State
- Nana Living History Museum, Delta State
- Black Heritage Museum, Badagry, Lagos State
- Ancient Kano City Walls, Kano State
- Ogbunike Caves, Enugu State, amongst others.
There are still quite a number of tourist attractions in Nigeria that are yet to be fully developed in order to attract both local and international tourists.
Nigeria’s aggregate revenue at the end of the third quarter of 2018 was N2.84 trillion, this accounted 58% of its targeted 2018 Budget. Could the country have performed better if Tourism was largely incorporated as a main source of revenue? I believe so.
By improving infrastructure, reducing the relatively high crime rate in the country with the aid of revenue from tax, as well as partnering with local tourism organisations to promote the tourist attractions of the country, in a few years we can boast of our booming economy and not solely rely on oil as a main source of revenue and perhaps by then the government could consider reducing tax rates.