The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has once again charged President Muhammadu Buhari to delineate, prioritize and fund a new Federal Ministry of Tourism in Nigeria. The President of FTAN, Alhaji Saleh Rabo, made this call in Abuja yesterday, Tuesday March 19th 2019, when Mrs. Opakiriti Josephine Nzobiwu, the new Director of Domestic Tourism at the Ministry of Information and Culture, went on a familiarization visit to the headquarters of FTAN in Asokoro Abuja.
It is stale news that Nigeria's tourism industry is grossly under-developed, no thanks to successive governments economic misadventure. Worse still, the present government's much touted economic diversification drive tilts more towards solid minerals exploration than agriculture, tourism and services sector developments.
Notwithstanding, tourism is an international business, hence one may not be surprised at our governments lack of entrepreneurial capacity and limited actionable knowledge of how to strategically midwife the economic development of tourism in Nigeria.
Over the years, the Nigeria tourism industry has been bedevilled by plethora of problems, both simple and complex. But these problems are not without solutions. Hence, this piece seeks to bring to light some of the prevailing challenges in the industry and proffer solutions to the malaise.
It was comforting when, in April 2012, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) released an analytical report on Nigeria’s tourism that read, “travel and tourism generated 838, 500 jobs directly in 2011 (1.4 percent total employment), and is forecasted to grow by seven percent in 2012 to 897, 500.
Recently, Africa Leadership Forum published an article on Nigeria, looking for the good in our corrupt nation. It states that: “Nigeria’s image over the years has been negatively affected by stories of corruption, mismanagement, fraud and other forms of crime reported in local and international media. Indeed, acts of criminality are even celebrated by a section of the Nigerian public, giving the impression that the nation is one of thieves and crooks. For anyone without any direct contact with Nigeria or Nigerians, it would seem that ours is a cesspit of value atrophy.” This is no hyperbole, in fact it is even a toned-down description of the calamities we as Nigerians wake up to every morning. We read in our newspapers tales of corruption in high places, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, conniving, violence, rape, armed robbery, scarcity, power failure, rituals and kidnappings.