Yemi Kale, the statistician general/CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has identified the need for stakeholders in the Nigeria’s tourism sector to work hand in hand and improve the contribution of the sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Kale, who described tourism as an emerging sector in Nigeria’s economy, also pointed to the need to build the right infrastructure that would help in addressing the security and safety concerns that deter visitors from coming to Nigeria.
Kale disclosed this while making presentation titled ‘Effective Reporting of the Travel & Tourism Industry Using Appropriate Data,’ during the official opening of the Association of Travel & Tourism Writers of Nigeria (ATTWON) Creative Hub in Lagos.
“There is need to harness the strength of local tourism affiliated departments and agencies in order to realise the full potential of tourism in the nation’s economy. The recent unveiling of Tour Nigeria by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), which promotes domestic tourism and enables local tourist consumption, is a step in the right direction,” said Kale, who was represented by Lola Talabi-Oni, technical adviser to the Statistician-General, National Bureau of Statistics.
According to him, the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan also list tourism as a priority sub-sector that needs a concerted effort of the Federal Government to boost the sector’s contribution to the total GDP.
“In Nigeria, tourism is still a nascent sector. In 2015, there were 1.3 million international tourist arrivals into Nigeria and this puts the country at the eleventh highest destination in Africa. However, it accounted for just 3.1 percent of the total international tourism receipts for Africa behind South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Tunisia and Morocco,” he said.
He further noted that the contribution of tourism to GDP declined from 2.34 percent in 2010 to 1.77 percent in 2011, and then 1.22 percent in 2012. Although transportation makes the highest contribution to tourism GDP, it has declined from 70 percent in 2010 to just over 50 percent in 2012.
“In 2010, hotels and accommodation contributed just 20 percent to the tourism economy buy it grew in 2012 to 45 percent. This growth has prompted more interest in the drivers of growth within the hotels and accommodation sub-sector,” he pointed out.
Statistics show that there are over 1000 hotels in Nigeria, but only a few are predominantly used by inbound tourists, yet we can assume that everyone that arrives in a country or travels out of their usual residence will stay in a hotel, short-lets or private shared accommodation.
As a result, Kale disclosed that NBS is perfecting plans to design a template in partnership other supervisory agencies and association to further capture the composition and main growth drivers within the sub-sector.
Emphasising that Nigeria’s tourism sector is resilient with great tendency for continuous growth, the statistician general stated that Nigeria has large domestic market to feed into the demand side of tourism while increasing globalisation and decreasing international air flight costs have translated into expanding foreign market and interest in Nigeria.
For instance, it is projected that Lagos airport will receive over 10,000 passengers per day by 2031.
Reacting to this, Christine Ibe, representative of Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, director general of NTDC, who noted that not much attention has been put in towards the development of tourism sector in Nigeria, affirmed that if properly harnessed the sector has great economic potential for the country’s economy.
Listing opportunities in the business of tourism, Ibe said that it has great potential for wealth and job creation, which will not only help in alleviating poverty in Nigeria but enable the Federal Government to earn foreign exchange, especially at this time of dwindling government revenue.
“NTDC, which is the agency of government that has the responsibility of developing and promoting domestic tourism in Nigeria by attracting investment into the sector to create jobs, has also introduced a 5-point action plan to enable it develop domestic tourism,” she said.
She listed the action plan to include Corporate Governance & Regulations, which introduced global best practice for the tourism industry through reviewing laws, education and standards; Human Capital Development- that encourages the creation of jobs and engagement of tourism stakeholders including Infrastructural Development- that deals on creating, growing and sustaining tourism assets.
Others include Events & Marketing- which deals on the corporation’s effort in protecting and promoting Nigerians cultural heritage as a resource for home grown socio-economic development as well as Finance & Investment, which pursue funding for capital projects in the tourism sector.
Earlier in her welcome address, Omolola Itayemi, president of ATTWON, commended the NBS for the new partnership with the Association, especially in the reportage of the industry.
She pledged the Association’s commitment in promoting responsible journalism, providing professional support, development of its members and encouraging the conservation and preservation of travel resources in Nigeria.
ATTWON is a professional association made up of writers, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, public relations experts and hospitality industry representatives in Nigeria.