In a meeting on June 23, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) announced a partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The establishment of this association hopes to bolster tourism in Nigeria. The project seeks to completely rebrand the tourism industry, all while creating a multitude of new jobs and strengthening Nigeria’s economy. According to the assistant director of NTDC’s press unit, Mrs. Adamma Afanga: “we need to start within our domain, focusing on consumption of our assets, promotion, and development of domestic tourism.”
In recent years, the Nigerian government and people have faced unemployment, the devaluation of Nigerian currency, terrorist activity and political instability. While this has made it difficult to attract foreign visitors, there is a significant opportunity for a turnaround. Inflation has slightly decreased, and Nigeria’s GDP recently saw its best quarter performance in the past year. Additionally, President Muhammadu Buhari has received positive marks in the international community for his humanitarian efforts and economic policies.
Because of these reasons, attracting foreign visitors has been difficult in recent years. As a result tourism in Nigeria has been particularly affected by political and financial instability. Most notably, terrorism and economic recession have made many international visitors less likely to visit Nigeria. However, by promoting investment and rebranding the tourism industry, there is the potential for significant economic growth in the country.
Currently, tourism in Nigeria is a relatively small industry with much room for growth but many challenges to overcome. In 2016, the hospitality industry comprised 4.8 percent of the Nigerian GDP. Despite the fact that many new hotels were created in the last few years, the number of foreign visitors to Nigeria declined significantly. The majority of clientele in the hospitality industry were domestic, corporate guests looking to travel in the cheapest way possible, which is readily achievable given the vast supply of accommodations.
The primary challenge of this partnership is synergizing the different aspects of tourism in Nigeria. According to Folorunso Coker, Director-General of the NTDC, the ultimate goal of this partnership is to create an all-inclusive tour package for Nigerians. This would not only capitalize on the country’s existing domestic travel industry but would create many new jobs. This is because building the necessary infrastructure, security and technology for attracting tourists will require skilled laborers.
As stated by Coker, strengthening tourism in Nigeria “will have multiple effects on job creation and poverty alleviation while strengthening GDP and [Nigeria’s] currency. Everyone in the value chain of tourism must work together and be ready to drive the market.”
– Julia Morrison