The trajectory of establishing a tourism consultancy in Nigeria
The particular amplification of this article was promoted by the recent journey to Nigeria in quest for the establishment of a viable tourism consultancy within the country. It was also prompted by my erstwhile students of Travel and Tourism who complained that there is little or no academic journal or information about tourism development and management in Nigeria.
These are arguable questions and the opinions of my critics will be welcomed on these issues. The questions addressed not as a research question but as an article that promotes the benefit of establishing a consultancy in the country. We have heard about promotion of tourism in Nigeria most especially on cultural tourism. The country is highly endowed with this niche tourism but as an indigene of the country, I believe that tourism is more than the cultural aspect to look forward to. We have also heard about the work of the Federal government on tourism. Most especially the contribution to the development of tourism by President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan.
Gathering information to substantiate the tourism development and management from Tourism Development and Promotion Division (TDPD) is a hallucinian task. The TDPD deals with the tourism planning, tourism facilitation, tourism legislation, travel assistance and incentive policies, basic data travel related statistics compilation and computation, tourism information documentation, market surveys for domestic tourism organizations, planning co-ordination and evaluation, education and training, and budget and inventive funds. In other words, they have done all the works but no accountability.
One tends to wonder if the tourism department is a white wash department with figure heads that has no sense of what tourism is all about. The perception is that it is all political mundane.
Does tourism stands as an industrial sector in Nigeria?
Let us first understand the nature of tourism and its element of tourism consumption. World Tourism Organisation (2004) has defined tourism as “the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purpose not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”. This definition is telling us that tourism is about moving to another location or environment, more different from where you live and where you experience different social interaction possibly with local community. These different location is consumed (spend by tourist) and experienced (product and services).
On the understanding of the nature of tourism, we can confidently say that tourism is an industrial sector of a country’s economy. It is demanded (holiday packages) and supplied (tourism destinations).
Nigeria in its own context arguably recognises this, but does not regard it as important industry simply because of the shroud consciousness of the oil industry. Tourism is highly marginalised as a business entity even in the budget proposals. The erstwhile research conducted on Nigeria at www.bglgroupng.com is worth reading in this respect. It compounded my views that after the development of the masterplan for tourism in Nigeria in 2003, little has changed to reflect any future development or management of tourism in the country. From the article of bgl research, Nigeria recognises that the tourism sector is an important sector. Nevertheless focus on its development is a course for concern as the country is losing on the generating commercial venture and investment couple with increase benefit on rural development as a result of tourism.