Monday, September 28, 2009
A typical example is the massive investment opportunities opened to all during the construction of the Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort and the Tinapa projects, all in Cross Rivers State, South South geopolitical region of Nigeria. These projects generated massive employment opportunities for various levels of professionals and artisans. The impact was well felt even during the construction stage.
All these activities, whether to create a new tourism facility or upgrade existing ones translate to more employment opportunities, expanding the space for employment and increasing standard of living, thus reducing unemployment and by extension idleness, despair and crime. Hence, making our climes safe for tourists and fun seekers.
Mushrooming from tourism industry are a whole lot of support service providers who are capable of creating employment for countless thousands, and generating income to improve standard of living. Such support services providers include but not limited to the following, travel/tour companies, tour guides, catering services, security companies, car hire services, to mention but a few.
When intending tourists hear that we are investing massively and upgrading our infrastructures and tourism sites, like it is happening in Kenya, Egypt, South Africa and the Gambia despite the global economic slow down, they will visit to feel these facilities. So facilities drive tourists to destinations.
Therefore opportunities abound for all of us, young and old male or female. Therefore all hands must be on deck to ensure that we widen the space, build more hotels, more resorts, more parks, enhance more historical sites across the country. More importantly, enact favorable legislation to enable private capital to take the lead in driving the expansion of tourism. Encourage indigenous investors to take advantage so that profit repatriation could be minimized to the barest minimum.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Opportunities abound for all to generate wealth in the tourism industry. Whether we are bourgeoisie/capitalists or proletariat. Whether we are rich or poor, whether we are young or old, male or female. Whether we are rural dwellers or city dwellers, literate or illiterate it does not matter, opportunity does not discriminate, it is all embracing, all encompassing. We all stand a good chance to make wealth beyond our imagination from tourism.
Let us consider the various opportunities that the promotion of tourism could unlock for our collective benefits.
The world over, promotion of tourism is closely linked with massive construction of social/national infrastructures. The construction of such infrastructures requires the employment/engagement of skilled professionals as well as artisans. Hence, a nation that is determined to diversify the source of her national income from petro dollar and tap from the tourism dollar will no doubt embark on massive construction/maintenance of existing or new social infrastructures, such as hotel facilities, resorts, parks, and event centers. This will generate employment opportunities for skilled professionals such as civil engineers, quantity surveyors, architects, plumbers, to name but a few.
To be concluded.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
When a tourist visits he wants to be able to move around without too many hindrances, so that he could explore those beautiful tourism sites that we have prepared for his pleasure. But when a journey of twenty minutes turns to two or three hours, as is being witnessed on a daily basis on the aforementioned cities, then it left little or nothing to be desired by tourists and travelers. Incidentally it is situations like this that discourage tourists and fun seekers, it is what also discourage or stunt the growth of tourism. And it further keeps us away from our goal of diversifying our economy by selling our atmosphere, which is what tourism business is all about.
So here is a call to all relevant government agencies saddled with the responsibility of maintaining our roads and drainage system if there is any, to do so without delay. Perhaps, they could put place stopgap measures in the interim to tackle the problem of traffic congestion occasioned by potholes and failed portions of the road. While in the long run, the continuous maintenance of existing roads and the expansion of some vital roads, and of course the construction of link roads should commence without further delay.
Less traffic congestion on our roads, means more tourists, more tourists means more patronage of our tourism sites, more funds for the state and more employment opportunities created via tourism. More employment opportunities, less poverty, less poverty translate to less crime, less crime more tourists. It’s a circle; get the basics right and watch the dramatic increase in the number of tourists.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The rains are here again, it is its’ season. That season when we all heave a sigh of relief from the scorching heat. Whether there is electricity supply form Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) or not, we now enjoy some measure of comfort, especially at night. At least for some months now that is what we all are experiencing, even in the very hot parts of the country; namely Kano, Yola, Sokoto and Maiduguri.
But as much as we desired, hoped and welcomed the rains, and even celebrated it’s inception, it also come with its’ own challenges. Challenges that if not managed well could erode some of the gains we have made in tourism.
The challenge of unending traffic on our roads, a situation that could turn a twenty minutes drive to two hours, a situation that often left man and machine constantly stressed to the limit and totally exhausted is inimical to the growth of tourism. The vexing trend of traffic gridlocks is virtually on every road in Port Harcourt, Benin City, Kano, Onitsha, Abuja, Jos and especially, Lagos. In Lagos, from Badagry to Epe, from Ikorodu to Apapa, from Apapa to Oshodi, the story is not different, name it, it is the same.
Though some may blame the situation on the rains, but I beg to differ. I apportion some of the blame to all of us, for not in some case clearing our drainages, and for dumping refuse indiscriminately. On the other hand, government should bear the brunt for the pool of river and sorry sight that our high ways and access roads have become anytime there is rainfall. A thinking and proactive government will have taken necessary steps to minimize the incidences of unending traffic occasioned by rainfall, given the cost in man-hour loss.
To be concluded.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Furthermore, a poorly supervised sector also became a breeding ground for criminals. The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), Mr. Olusegun Runsewe revealed that about 70% of stolen vehicles are kept in hotels around the country, confirmed this truth. It is common knowledge that all over the world, some heinous crimes are plotted and hatched from the confines of unregistered and unregulated hotels. Crimes ranging from armed robbery, fraud, kidnapping assassinations is perpetrated from such unholy venues. And the perpetrators of such crimes vanish into thin air without any trace or any clue. Therefore by this action on the part of the supervisory agency, security to lives and property will be enhanced.
In addition, a poorly regulated tourism sector also led to earning for itself a poor reputation from the public and would be consumer of its’ products. The poor perception of the general public, where hotels are viewed not as a place to unwind away from home, but as a place where infidelity is perpetrated given the ubiquitous presence of prostitutes and pimps does not help growth. Thus necessitating supervision and regulation.
Hence, when the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC) wielded the big stick, I was relieved of these concerns that have being weighing on my mind. This sanitation exercise will no doubt go a long way to boost the growth and development of the tourism sector of our economy. It will further increase our rating in the world tourism map as a choice destination for tourists, a destination to be reckoned with. Therefore all of us must support and encourage this action of the NTDC.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Hitherto, just anyone could convert any buildings to hotels, in just any corner or space available, whether such territories are earmarked for such or not. This poor practice created a lot of problems for the growth and development of the hotel business in the country. It gave rise to unorganized growth of the sector, hampering standardization efforts of the agency; naturally without standardization growth becomes difficult in the face of competition from standardized economies. It also made the agency’s supervisory role tedious.
When adequate supervision is lacking, it naturally lead to poor service delivery, poor service delivery translate to dissatisfied customers. A dissatisfied customer may not bother to call back again and that means a loss to the sector, and a slowing down of growth and development. Poor service delivery reflects poorly on our global ratings and negatively affects our earning from the international tourists market.
To be concluded.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Where were you, what were you doing on that day, can you recall? I still remember vividly, what I was doing before the incidence that was to change the face of international relations and tourism occurred. I was barely 2 weeks old in my new place of employment, a media house in Lagos, Minaj Broadcast International (MBI). On that day the head news had asked me to help monitor news for the News Department, so I was snooping for news when CNN flashed the breaking news, together with footages of events as they unfolded in the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
I am sure; the events of 9/11 will be indelibly inscribed on the minds and hearts of millions, if not billions of the earth’s inhabitants. Todd Beamer and friend’s heroic resistance of the fourth plane from heading to it’s target in Washington DC will not be forgotten in a hurry. We equally remember the families of those fire fighters who lost their lives while trying to save that of others. Fire fighters like James Amato a father of 4 children, and a captain in the New York Fire Department, he was a courageous man. George DiPascuale also paid with his life, as he tried to save others. Infact, he was on the 10th floor of the south tower when it collapsed. These are just 2 of the hundreds of fire fighters, policemen and emergency workers who lost their lives as they valiantly tried to rescue people.
It has been 8 years since, that nerve racking, heart-rending incidence occurred. Since then our lives have never been the same, neither is the way we relate, nor do business, especially traveling and tourism. No doubt all sectors of the global economy was affected but the one that received the most bashing, the most blows and almost brought to its knees was the traveling and tourism industry. Since the 9/11 incidence traveling has not been the same experience. Some major airlines were yet to recover from the loss occasioned by that incidence, just as we have not been able to shake the shock off completely. Civilization is yet to recover from the shock of 9/11, if nothing it has exposed the vulnerability of all of us. That wealth and superstructures that our forebears toiled to build can be destroyed within a twinkle of an eye by a few disgruntled or misguided youths. But on the positive side the 9/11 tragedies brought out in all of us, Americans and non-Americans alike better qualities, namely self-sacrifice, compassion, endurance, and unselfishness.
Each time I as well as others, millions at that, board a flight, be it local, within Nigeria or international flights, we always have at the back of our minds the possibility that one or a few of us can hijack the plane and run us all into a major facility and end our lives there. I have joined the club of fearful fliers.
But all tourists are working hard to put the incidence behind them, gradually we are coming out of our shells, yes the statistics indicated so. They show that tourism will not let such incidences change the way that traveling business is done.
No doubt air safety consciousness have increased since the 9/11 incidence, that indeed is comforting to nervous travelers (tourists) and the tourism industry, but can we prevent a repeat of 9/11? That is the question that is going through my mind as we remember this dark day in human history.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Therefore a quality that is critical from the ongoing discussion is friendliness; little could be achieved without it. A friendly smile/ disposition would go a long way to endear our country as a favorite tourism destination. A friendly attitude as against a combative attitude, on the part of government personnel/security officers will enable them to be kind to tourists and their guides. Such disposition will enable all to protect the interest of tourists and not to prey on them, by pilfering, defrauding or outright stealing/kidnapping.
When a security personnel realize that part of his take home (salary) is probably from income generated by the nation through tourism, he would do all he could to protect such tourists by preventing harm from befallen them. And when most Nigerians realize that by being nice and kind to tourists they are actually contributing toward the promotion of Nigeria’s’ tourism industry as a choice destination, and by extension our revenue base, they will improve in their attitude.
As I write there are countries with fantastic landscapes and advanced infrastructure that could support the boom of tourism. There are countries with tourism sites that could rival the best in any part of the world. But these nations are rarely viewed as tourists’ destinations, why? Because of the hostile nature of their citizens towards tourists/visitors. The point is clear, no tourist will visit a hostile, short-tempered people, and neither will a tourist visit a crisis prone region. Tourists will rather visit a country or region with fewer infrastructures, but with friendly, honest, and easy going people, than one with all the infrastructures and bombs and hand grenades exploding every other time.
Conclusively, all of us young and old, man and woman rich and powerful and humble, we all need to put on our best behavior at all times, especially when our dear tourists are around. When we do, our tourists will not hesitate to recommend us to family friends and colleagues. What is more, they will most likely call back when they have the opportunity to do so. With this we all are directly or indirectly contributing to the growth and development of our tourism industry. Bottom line is that it will drive our revenue base up and free us from the vice like grip of petro - dollar (oil).
Monday, September 7, 2009
While government on its’ part is putting all necessary policies and structures in place, from regulatory frame works to a virile supervisory agency and the development of critical infrastructures. The first thing you and I could do to engender tourism is to be of good behavior. Nothing makes lasting impression on the hearts and minds of tourists than the way and manner the citizens of their host country treated them.
Therefore a friendly and hospitable demeanor is essential to the success of the industry in Nigeria a friendly and helpful attitude on the part of citizens of the host country will make a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of the tourists, in most cases making them to recommend their host country to intending tourists’ (family, friends, colleague and neighbors), who may want to visit. Of course when next they want to proceed on vacation such country readily comes to mind. Therefore our conduct towards tourists is very crucial to the survival of tourism as a business.
If the government and corporate entities spend so much to establish and promote our potentials in tourism business, and the citizenry does not treat tourists kindly, worse still, out rightly being hostile, all the efforts will come to naught.
Imagine tourists being caught in a cross fire between warring Area Boys in Lagos and the Police, or imagine tourists caught in the middle of a sectarian crisis. Hardly will you expect such a tourist to have any favorable experience to recall or relate back home. Imagine a tourist that was duped or defrauded in the course of his vacation in our country, hardly will such recommend us as favorable tourism destination to family and friends back home. Worst of all, imagine when a tourist is kidnapped, that could cause a major setback to the tourism industry. That is why it is saddening, disheartening to see Policemen who are the nearest personnel of government established for the purpose of protecting lives and property extorting money from tourists and their guides/drivers without any qualms. So we all must do our very best to protect these visitors who have left family and friends behind to spend time and resources in our country. We must be of good behavior.
To be concluded.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Listen to the following statistics regarding tourism. According to World Tourism Organization (WTO) forecast, international tourist arrival will climb from the present 625 million a year to over 1.6 billion by the year 2020, now does that ring a bell, vision 202020? These tourists are expected to spend over 2 trillion US dollars, making tourism the world’s leading industry.
Today tourism is important to the economy of over 125 countries, from Europe to the Americas and of course Africa. Tourism can alleviate poverty through the creation of small and medium size tourism ventures. As it creates new jobs it simultaneously raises environmental, cultural as well as social awareness. Now listen to this also, tourism could most effectively reduce unemployment and lift the standard of living in developing homes, Nigeria inclusive.
How do we as a nation benefit from the above statistics about tourism business? What can the government at all levels do to ensure that Nigeria takes her rightful place in tourism business?
Government at all levels could do a lot to ensure that we reap bountifully from this windfall from tourism. Government at all levels must necessarily create the enabling environment for tourism industry to thrive. Government must put sound policy framework in place, a policy that will encourage an unprecedented growth of the tourism industry in Nigeria. This means that government need to double its; effort inj the provision of critical infrastructures (power, road networks, coastal/waterways, airports/airfields).
Government at all levels should embark on massive awareness campaign about the numerous benefits/opportunities in the tourism industry. The hordes of security agencies on every stretch flagging down vehicles are inimical to the growth of tourism. Therefore a re-orientation of our security agencies is urgent. The roads are to facilitate tourism and not to serve as revenue points. Tourism business and the movement of persons and goods could be crippled by the overbearing security presence on the roads.
Government at all levels should empower or encourage indigenous investors through incentives such as tax breaks to enable them invest in tourism by embarking on massive construction of resorts, hotels, parks and other infrastructures critical to the development of tourism. This action on the part of government will minimize profit repatriation by foreign investors as is being witnessed in the case of the telecom and oil and gas industries. Government at all levels should provide security to lives and property and reduce the feeling of insecurity. Government should enact necessary legislations to give teeth to the growth of the industry and empower the supervisory agency to be more efficient.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Welcome to Tourist’ Paradise. A blog where all issues regarding tourism/traveling are discussed. On this blog, we shall be opening Nigeria and by extension Africa to the world. We shall tell our own story as regards tourism, for we realize that no outsider can tell it better. In addition, this blog has, as it’s objective opening up the enormous but untapped tourism potentials of Nigeria and Africa to the world. From Yola to Obudu, from Badagry to Argungu, from Yankari to Oshogbo, from Ikogosi to Oloibiri, from Olumo to Idanre, Nigeria beckons to all to come taste her hospitality. Come see the stunnuning sceneries and gorgeous views of the most populous black nation on earth. Explore Nigeria; explore Africa.
Welcome to my world, the world of tourism. On this blog I shall be guiding you on a tour of breathtaking destinations across the world at large and Nigeria in particular. I shall be unveiling the various opportunities that abound in the tourism business. I shall show you how you as an individual can benefit from it. Furthermore, I shall show you the dos and don’ts of the business. What should governments do to attract investors and thereafter tourists to their tourism sites? What should you and I do to enjoy our vacations/holidays? What should we avoid to have memorable holidays and vacations?
Furthermore, this blog will serve as your authoritative tour guide; it will help all intending tourists to make informed choices about the various tourists’ destinations spread around Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. I shall discuss various issues pertaining to tourism; developments that will affect tourism. I shall also serve you a regular menu of various African cultures. So fasten your seat belts as we prepare to take off on a voyage of pleasant discoveries, a journey that will make you look back with fond memories in the end.
Posted by Edwards Ajiboye (Arogbowei)