‘Why Nigerian tourism sector lags behind amid huge potential’
At the Akwaaba African Travel Market 2018 in Lagos on Monday, leading tour operators on the continent were unanimous about the huge tourism potential in Nigeria, but expressed concern over the country’s inability to attract patronage to the sector.
The 2017 Annual Economic Reports of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that air travel and tourism in Nigeria contributed 1.7 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016.
The sectors, in cash flow, contributed a total of N1.861 billion, which ranked Nigeria 171st among 185 countries; 180th on the growth rate and 105th on the long-term growth rate index.
While Nigeria lags behind, travel and tourism in The Gambia contribute nine per cent to the GDP, with 63.7 per cent foreign visitors.
The Gambia ranks 164th in growth rate and 34th in long-term growth.
Similarly, travel and tourism in Rwanda contribute 4.5 per cent of the GDP, with 60.2 per cent foreign visitors.
Rwanda ranks sixth in growth rate and fourth (compared with Dubai) in long-term growth rate projection.
Chairman of the Africa Tour Operators’ Summit session, Fatima Garbati, grouped tourism countries on the continent into three: countries with developed tourism like Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia; countries with steady incomes from developing tourism like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and so on; and others with interest in developing the industry.