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Abstract 3
Keywords 4
1.0 Preamble 5
2.0 Problem 6
3.0 aim and objective 7
4.0 Review 8
5.0 tourism resource in Nigeria 11
6.0 Methodology 19
7.0 key findings 20
8.0 analysis of tourism situation in Nigeria 26
9.0 expected outcome of tourism in Nigeria 27
10.0 challenges of tourism resource 28
10.0 prospect of diversifying 29
11.0 conclusion 30
12.0 recommendation 31
13.0 references 32

This paper appreciates tourism among other economic sectors as a veritable economic industry
that can transform the socio-economic lives of a people that are faced with low per capita
income, unemployment, poverty and economic malaise only if the tourism potential resources are
identified, harnessed, developed and packaged into a tourist product. The paper sees tourism
development and promotion as a way of diversifying the nation’s mono cultural economy. The
challenges here are not unconnected with those of unawareness of the large population, lack of
leisure time and disposable income, security, financial and economic fraud, poor planning of the
sector, non regulation and unco-ordinated approach to tourism matters by the public sector to
encourage the private sector especially in pursuit of tourism organisation, development,
accessibility, marketing, capacity building, investment, information, funding and legislation
among others. The paper also examined prospects of diversifying the industry identifying
conducive environment created through the institutional structures to harness the available mass
tourism resources in the country, the formulated tourism policy and the development master plan,
widespread investments in the travel, hospitality and tourism outfits, attitude of Nigerians
towards holiday and travels, existence of political and legislative instruments to fast track
tourism programme implementation. The paper conclude that tourism if developed will add
value to the national economy through job creation, foreign exchange generation hence solving
most social, economic and political problems. Consequently, the paper recommend that despite
all the government’s efforts in transforming the tourism industry and the economy, it need a
strong political will that shall pursue the backing and funding of the tourism policy, the review
and the implementation of the 2006 tourism development master plan to organise and regulate
the industry for the well being of the citizens and the nation at large.

Key words:


Policy master plan

Nigeria covering a total of 923768km2 along the West African Gulf of Guinea is an important
centre of biodiversity of tropical rainforest, coastal plains, mangrove and the Savannah zones
geographically with a population of about 150 million people.

The fact also remain that the country is mono-economy based in petroleum oil generating over
80% of the nation’s foreign exchange and employing very low labor force as the agricultural
sector which the predominant occupation of Nigerians.

Tourism in Nigeria is still in its infancy considering the large accumulation of resources which
are yet untapped and the institutional structure which is yet to be regulated to compete favorably
with other fast growing tourism destinations. Successive governments have tried in their very best
to put the industry in the national economic map but sector could not meet up with the exclusive

Even though rich in ecotourism and business tourism potentials and constrained by figurative and
factual analysis to plan development, the political will and legislation are far from regulating the
industry to keep abreast with both the national tourism policy and master plan implementation
program in line with the United Nations Framework on sustainable tourism development efforts.

The interest in tourism by the Nigeria’s government started way back in the 1960s with the
Obasanjo’s regime in 1976 establishing the Nigeria Tourism Board (NTB) now Nigeria Tourism
Development Corporation (NTDC) via Decrees No Decree No. 54 of 1976 reviewed to Decree
No. 86 of 1991 and giving it a ‘preferred sector’ status respectively. Master Plan on tourism
development in Nigeria started way 1982 with a tourism development policy first rolled out in
1990. To further consolidate the quest for quality service delivery in the tourism industry, the
government created the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture to actualise the dream of
catching up with the global train in tourism development.

The Government of Nigerian in her quest to diversify the economy and the tourism industry in
particular decided to take some measures towards promoting the travel and tourism sectors. These
measures include the establishment of the Presidential Council on Tourism, Federal Ministry of
Tourism and its Departments and Agencies with same at the States’ level and Local Tourism
Committees which falls in line with the provisions of the National Tourism Policy (NTP) of
2005, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) of 1992 and the Nigeria Tourism
Development Master Plan of 2006.

With the adoption of a Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan and the National Tourism
Council, harnessing tourism resources and diversifying such to compete favorably with other
major economic sector given its socio-economic and cultural wellbeing cannot be over

For the tourism industry as a sector of the Nigerian economy, it is not in dispute that it has
abundance of resources that can diversified to transform the socio-economic lives of the populace
yet, the sector’s performance is nowhere in tune with turning the economy into a foreign
exchange earner.

The tourism industry’s various sectors are yet to have adequate, quality and standard development
efforts including the building of its capacity in the areas of natural resource of the national parks,
game reserves, beaches, plateau, forests and other natural spots; transport (either air, land and
water); the accommodation with hotel, hostel, shared apartment, guest houses, camps etc); the
catering services (i.e. Restaurants, Cafes, fast food shops clubs, bars etc); Entertainment (i.e.
Museums, cultural shows, night clubs, drama & dances); souvenir providing works of carvings,
weavings, sculptures and various art works including managers and operators of attractions i.e.
parks and events i.e conferences, fairs, exhibitions, festivities among others.

Basic among the problems of developing the tourism industry in a bid to diversify the economy
include those of:-
- Low level of awareness by the citizens of tourism and its benefits;
- Lack of regulatory legislation;
- Low disposable income to pursue tourism activities;
- Niger Delta and Boko Haram Militancy;
- Non professionalization of the industry;
- Non implementation of the 2006 Tourism development master plan and
- Lack of political will to pursue tourism development to the latter.

The aim of this paper is to have the tourism sector contribute maximally to the national economy
as a major export earner like the petroleum and the agricultural sectors of the economy. This is to
be achieved through the appraisal of the tourism resources of the nation and the combination of
both natural and human capacities to transform the industry into a job creating and foreign
exchange earner that will meet the socio-economic well being of the nation at large.

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From the recommended definition of terms, the United Nations (UN) Statistics Commission and
the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) (1991), defined tourism to
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Includes the activities of people traveling away
From their usual environment for leisure
Business and other purposes.

The source further stressed that the activities of these ‘Visitors’ includes:
- Purchasing goods and services;
- Traveling to, from and within a destination and
- Affecting various ways of the natural and social environment.

The word ‘visitor’ as explained by the body and understood by the researcher is any person
traveling to a place other than his usual environment for less than 12 months and whose main
purpose of trip is other than the exercise of any activity remunerated from within the place
visited. The visitors within the scope of the definition can be seen to be tourism which is a subject
of a traveler who undertakes this between two or more localities within their country of usual
residence (domestic tourism) or outside their country of nationality (outbound) (cit).

The critical distinction here is that the visitor is away from his/her designate environment to other
area different from where they normally live, work and conduct other day to day activities. The
implication of this is that these activities involve the demand for services from various sectors of
the economy thereby providing for the component travel inputs which qualifies it as an industry
(Inskeep: 1999).


The main reason why people undertake tourism travel as credited to McIntosh (1974); Medlik et
al (1981); Robinson (1976) and UNWTO (1999) are purposely for the following:
Medical treatment;
Family affairs;
Sporting events;
Conference; and

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Inskeep (1991) gave a clear cut distinction of the components of the travel and tourism industry,
which is a fundamental base of this research study. Preparatory to the components is the UNWTO
(1999) definition of the travel industry which defined the industry as
The composite of organizations both public and
private that are involved in the development,
Production, distribution, and marketing of products
and services to serve the needs of the travelers.

From the above, it is obvious that the industry is all encompassing being multifaceted and
multidimensional in nature as attested from the components of the industry and as identified by
Inskeep to include;

- Transportation: as to whether the tourist travel by air sea or land with adequate facilities and
services, these are in the areas as of airport terminals, harbors and road systems.

- Infrastructure: As Inskeep explained, it refers to components found on or below the ground

level that provide the basic framework for effective functioning of development systems such as
urban areas, industry and tourism. The components further has those basic services to include
supply of water, electricity power, sewage and solid waste disposal, drainage and
telecommunications which are a few of the critical elements required for the industry to perform

- Accommodation: The sector which takes 20% - 30% of the tourist expenditure. This is serviced
by various components of the accommodation services to include;
* Bed and breakfast – budget;
* Pension Houses;
* Youth hostel;
* Camp ground;
* Recreational vehicle parks and Cruise;
* Cruise ships;

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* Hotel; and
* Motel
* Etc.
- Food and Beverage component: This sector provides for restaurant, bar and other types of
eating and drinking outlets of sizes and services. The business themselves form primary or
secondary sources of tourist attractions for destinations such as Lyons, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong,
new Orleans abroad and Obudu Ranch, Tinapa Disney World etc in Nigeria.

- Support service: is the last with shopping facilities and services at the destinations which help
fulfill the basic as well as supplementary needs of visitors. The stores which meet the varying
demands of the visitors include:
- Souvenir shops;
- Duty free stores;
- Laundry facilities;
- Grocery and department stores;
- Tour guide services sport and Recreations retail and rental shops;
- Entertainment facilities as Nite-club, opera etc.

Another theorem developed to explain the tourism industry component was put forward by
Delphi Panel (1994) stratifying the component to include:
- Hotels and Resorts;
- Travels Agents Retails;
- Tour Wholesalers;
- Tourism marketing;
- Cultural Resources Attraction;
- National Resources Attraction;
- Tourism Administration;
- Tourism Transportation;
-Conventions and events;
- Attractions and Entertainments;
- Food and Beverages and
- Others i.e. consultants etc.
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*** Adopted from UNWTO (TEDQUAL):1997.

These categorizations are done with the consideration of professional services of distinctions.

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Nigeria is endowed with diverse natural and man made tourism resources some of which are
tabulated below:-


Tourism related to natural resources e.g. flora and fauna i.e. plant and animals:

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a. Yankari National Park Developed

b. Kainji lake National Park, Niger State Developed

c. Gashaka/Gumti National Park, Adamawa/Taraba State Developed

d. Old Oyo National Park, Oyo State Developed

e. Chad Basin National Park, Borno State Partially Developed

f. Cross River National Park, Cross Rivers State. Developed

g. Jos Wildlife Park, plateau State. Partially Developed

h. Hadejia/Nguru Wetland and Birds Sanctuary, Edo State. Partially Developed

i. Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary, Edo State Partially Developed

j. Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos State Developed

k. Drill Ranch, Cross River State Developed


This tourism is related to coastline and inland waterways in Nigeria. Examples include:


a. Bar Beach, Lagos State Partially Developed

b. Badagry Beach, Lagos State Partially Developed

c. Takwa Beach, Lagos State Partially Developed

d. Aiyetoro Maiyegun Beach, Lagos State. Developed

e. Eleko Beach, Lagos State. Developed

f. Lekki Peninsula, Lagos State. Developed

g. Port Harcourt Tourist Beach, Rivers State Developed

h. Ibeno Beach, Akwa Ibom State Partially Developed

i. Nwaniba Beach, Akwa Ibom State Developed

j. Uta Ewa Beach, Akwa Ibom State Developed

k. James Town Beach, Akwa Ibom State Developed

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l. Calabar Beach, Cross River State. Developed


These include spectacular physical, geographical formulation or features such as:


a. Assop Falls, Plateau State Partially Developed

b. Gurara Falls, Niger State Not Developed

c. Owu Falls, Kwara State Developed

d. Matsirga Waterfall, Kaduna State Not Developed

e. Erin Ijesha Water Fall, Osun State. Partially Developed

f. Kwa Falls, Cross River State Partially Developed

e. Agbokim Waterfall, Cross River State Partially Developed

g. Jeffy falls, Borno State Not Developed

h. Farin Ruwa Water falls, Wamba Nassarawa State Not Developed



a. Olumo Rock, Ogun State Partially Developed

b. Zuma Rock, Niger State Not Developed

c. Shere Hills, Plateau State Partially Developed

d. Riyom Rock, Plateau State Not Developed

e. Oke Maria, Ondo State Not Developed

f. Aso Rock, Federal Capital Territory Partly Developed.


a. Mambila Plateau, Taraba State Not Developed

b. Obudu Cattle Rank, Cross River State Developed

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c. Idanre Hills, Ondo State Partly Developed


a. Marshall Caves, Yankari, Bauchi State Not Developed

b. Kwantarwoshi Cave, Zamfara State Not Developed

c. Ogbunike Cave, Anambra State Partly Developed


a. Ikogosi Warm spring, Ekiti State Developed

b. Wikki Warm Spring, Yankari, Bauchi State Developed


These are tourist attractions created by man’s ingenuity and they include the following:



a. Trans Amusement Park, Ibadan, Oyo Developed

b. Water Parks, Ikeja, Lagos State Developed

c. Frankid Amusement Park, Festac Town, Lagos State Developed

d. Hills and Valleys Amusement Park, D/Kudu, Kano State Partly Developed



a. Whispering Palms, Iworo-Badagry, Lagos State Partially Developed

b. International Youth Tourism Center, Kurra Falls, Plateau Partially Developed

c. Seam Health Farm, Idiriki, Ogun State Partly Developed

d. Murtala Mohammed Botanical Garden, Lagos Developed

e. Helena Farms, Jos Partially Developed

f. Rojeny Toursim Village, Oba Anambra State Partly Developed

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g. Chama Park, Jibiya Katsina Partly Developed

h. Abuja Gardens, Abuja Developed



a. U.I. Zoological Gardens, Ibadan Developed

b. Audu Bako Zoo, Kano Developed

c. Jos Zoo Developed

d. O.A. University Zoo, Ile-Ife Developed

These are tourism activities based culture and relgious beliefs. Some of these are:


a. Argungu Fishing Festival, Kebbi State Partially Developed

b. Osun/Osogbo Festival, Osun State Developed

c. Kano/Katsina Durbars Developed

d. Mmanwu Festivals Enugu/Amabra State Developed

e. Ikeji Festival, Arondizuogo, Imo State Developed

f. Ovia Osese Festival, Ogoni Mangogo, Kogi State Developed

g. Sharo Festival of the Fulanis, Nothern States Partially Developed

h. Awon Mass Wedding, Shao, Kwara State Developed

i. Eyo Festival, Lagos State Developed

j. Igue Festival, Benin-city, Edo State Developed



a. Owo museum, Ondo Developed

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b. National Museum, Lagos Developed

c. National War Museum, Abia Developed

d. Ife Museum, Ilfe Ife Developed

e. Jos Museum Developed

f. Jos Museum Developed

g. Musem of Natural History, Owerri Developed

h. Gidan Makama Museum, Kano Developed

i. National Museum, Benin City Developed

j. Oro-Esie Stone Image, Kwara State Developed

k. Nok Terra Cota, Kaduna Developed

l. Gobirau Minaret, Katsina Developed


a. Emir of Kano’s Palace Developed

b. Emir of Zaria’s Palace Developed

c. Ooni’s Palace Ile Ife Developed

d. Iga Idungaran (Oba’s palace) Lagos Developed

e. Alaafin of Oyo’s Palace Developed

g. Erediauwa’s (Oba of Benin) Palace Developed



a. Naraguta Leather Works, Jos Developed

b. Igun Bronze Casting, Benin City Developed

c. Kofar Mater Dyeing Pits, Kano Developed

d. Calbash Carving, Owodo-oyo, Oyo State Developed

e. Brass works, Bida, Niger State Developed

f. Adire Cloths (Itoko) Abeokuta Developed

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g. Mat weaving, Osun Developed

h. Aso Oke Weaving, Iseyin, Oyo State Developed

i. Akwete Weaving Centre, Abia Developed

Source: Fed. Min. Culture & Tourism:1998.


Tourism is described as a network of activities of persons who travel to and stay at destinations
outside their normal places of residence and work for pleasure, business and other purposes. Such
activities are inclusive of that of those who provide visitors with the enabling environments for
the sojourn to take place for mutual benefits (UNWTO, 1999). The visitors benefit from the
sojourn through the ability of the destination product and service delivery to satisfy their felt

The host on the other hand benefit from the income generated from the services provided to meet
the needs of the visitors, the employment and investment opportunities created by the provision
of such services, as well as the stimulation of the practice of local cultures, traditions, arts and
crafts and cuisine of the host population.

The principal conclusions from the analysis of the economic impact of Tourism on the economy
of Nigeria are:

* Spending by international tourists has a direct impact on the national economy estimated
at US$280m/N36b.

* Downstream economic impacts from the “export” revenues of international tourist

spending are estimated to generate additional gross revenue of US$224m/N29b.

* While the incidence of domestic leisure travel may be low, the sheer size of Nigeria’s
population means that there is a significant contribution to the demand for tourism services from
domestic travel activity. The revenue value of this impact is unknown.

* The revenue generated from travel within the country by employees and staff of Federal
Government departments and agencies generates a demand for an estimated US$68m/N8.8b of
transport and hospitality sectors.

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* State governments also make a considerable contribution to the transport and hospitality
sector in the undertaking of official travel activities. The revenue value of this impact is

* The contribution to government revenue from VAT levies on the Hospitality sector,
recorded at N1.149 million in 2004, is considered to grossly understate the actual level of revenue
received. Company Income tax generated by the Hospitality sector was recorded at N313 million
in the 2005 year, the first year such a breakdown was available.

More to the above, the implementation of the Development Plan in Tourism Cluster development
will disperse the economic benefits from tourism activity. The economic benefits from tourism
activity will be spread much wider and to a greater proportion of the population than is currently
the case. Again, the demand for labour will receive a very significant stimulus from
implementation of the proposed Development Plan.

The reality on ground is that tourism has become one of the most important global industries of
today. With the increasing ease of travel and smoothness of movement across international
boundaries, the tourism sector boasts of being the world’s biggest export earner generating
enormous foreign exchange earnings and employment. It is no longer in doubt that tourism has
become a catalyst for growth in many countries like Australia, Cyprus, Kenya, etc, as it brings in
substantial revenues for governments whilst stimulating greater investments in infrastructure
which ultimately contributes to improved living conditions for the people.

Between the years 2000-2006, tourism was the second largest foreign exchange earner after
manufacturing for the Malaysian Government. 2006 saw a 6.8% growth rate in tourist arrivals in
Malaysia with a13.5% increase in receipts. In terms of employment, it is estimated that this
industry accounts for a remarkable 1,344,000 jobs of which 492,320 are direct employment.

Also according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), worldwide,
forecasts an expected 1.6 billion tourist arrivals worldwide by 2020. This of course will translate
to billions of Dollars in revenue for benefiting countries. One then wonders what is hampering the
full development of tourism in Nigeria. Of the estimated 1.6 billion tourists arrivals projected for
2020 which will generate billions of foreign exchange, how many is Nigeria expecting?

Nigeria and indeed Africa is well known for their ‘more than the usual’ hospitality. The
traditional Nigerian society dwells richly in welcoming guests, strangers and visitors using
various approaches and means. Locations such as beaches ideal for different kinds of games,
unique wildlife, vast strips of unspoiled nature ranging from tropical forest, magnificent
waterfalls and great artworks showcasing lifestyle and creativity of the Nigerian people.

Some of these natural locations, sights and sounds of the people have been developed into
tourism sites widely sought after by local and foreign tourists. The tourist’s sites which have
attracted good number of visitors include Obudu Cattle Ranch in Calabar, Mambilla Plateau in
Taraba State, Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State, Oguta Lake in Imo State, Lagos Sunburn
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Yatch Hotel. Beautiful festivals include, the Osun Osogbo Festival, The Argungu Fishing
Festival, Ine Festival in Delta State, The Iwa-Akwa festivals in Imo State, Idumangi Olali,in
Okpoama, Brass, Bayelsa State, etc. However, most of these tourists’ attractions are either fully
or yet to be developed.

In the Hospitality sector, great developments have been experienced through the dogged
determination of Nigerian Investors who own almost all the hotels in Nigeria. In almost every
corner of the country, there is a hospitality outfit servicing a certain group of customers,
providing employment and contributing to the overall development of there host states.
International brands like Hilton, Sofitel, Novotel, Le meridien, Protea, Radison SAS, etc, adorn
the country’s hospitality fabric with splendid brands providing international attitude to the sector.

With the latest reports on oil prices in the International market and the current global recession
crisis, Nigeria still dependent on oil as its major source of revenue needs an urgent diversification
of its revenue generation sources. The Governors of Imo, Niger and Delta, Bayelsa States have
advocated the diversification of our economy through tourism, agriculture, etc. Uduaghan of
Delta State has severally said that he is committed to delivering a ‘Delta without oil’. He believes
that Delta can become a model following in the steps of Singapore (a Nation that generates huge
revenue from tourism).

Few years ago, while making presentations to the Speaker of the House, Prof Soludo raised a very
pertinent issue on the adverse effects of Obama’s plan for alternative energy sources to Oil on
Nigeria. No doubt, this policy statement by Obama may likely affect Nigeria’s Vision 20-2020. In
his views, the Governor of Imo State of Nigeria Ikedi Ohakim while responding to a question on
the future of oil in Nigeria in Nigeria’s This Day newspaper of 24 January, 2009 said “…the
shrinking oil prices may as well be a blessing in disguise if we must take a hint. This country is
blessed with abundant resources that could be harnessed to kick start a non-oil money based
economy. Oil really made us lazy. I believe it is just a distraction which we must shake off now”.

Given the potentials in the country’s tourism and hospitality sector, there is a pressing need to
revamp and develop the sector. So far, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Nigeria
Tourism Development Commission, must be commended for the growth witnessed so far in the
ministry. However, it is expected that, fresh ideas on how to address issues such as adequate
infrastructure, security, friendlier policies, etc should be looked into.

Fortunately, the market is massive given the vast population of this country and the fact that
Nigerians love life and enjoyment-a people known as the happiest people in the world. Trevor
Ward, an experienced hospitality consultant, and currently the award winner of African Investor’s
2008 Tourism Investor Adviser of the year in one of his article positioned that “Tourism is a
potential growth sector for Nigeria. The country’s natural, historic and cultural assets are
extraordinary, and can easily be exploited by eager entrepreneurs. The most readily accessible
market is the domestic one, with evidence that the new generation has a much higher propensity
to spend money on leisure activities than their parents.”

Given the above, tourism should be seen and positioned as a fast-track tool towards the
actualization of Vision 20-2020. There is also a great need to encourage foreign investments in

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this sector. There are very limited presence of foreign investment in Nigerian Tourism which may
be traceable to long term rate of return, and few of the challenges we mentioned above.
Governments at all levels must strive to build partnerships that will attract major foreign investors
into tourism. Government should also have a framework for structural change to more effectively
support Nigeria’s tourism industry. Therefore, urgent action is required to improve tourism
information, research and forecasts to more effectively serve the needs of the industry and help
likely investors and tourists in addition to a complete re-branding domestic and international


Against the background of this philosophy, the government of Nigeria strived to consolidate on
the reform and tackle it holistically hence, coming up with what is tagged “Agenda 21”. It is
worth noting that the agenda is a combination of selected policies of the Abacha, Abudlsalam and
Obansanjo’s dreams. This information was provided by the government of Nigeria to the 5 th, 7th
and 8th sessions of the United Nations (UN) Commission on Sustainable Development with the
caption “Economic Aspects of Sustainable Development in Nigeria in April 1999. The Agenda 21
of the Obansanjo’s era focused on eight critical areas viz:

• International Co-operation;
• Trade;
• Changing consumption patterns;
• Financing;
• Technology;
• Industry;
• Transport and
• Sustainable Tourism.


To be more specific, the researcher’s interest which is Nigeria’s tourism Sector matters. The 5 th
session of the UN Commission report (1997) indicated that the Government of Nigeria provided a
blue print on “Sustainable Tourism” which was adopted by the Obasanjo administration. The
agenda on tourism covers the areas of;
• Co-ordinating bodies – (Decision making);
• Legislation and Regulation; ’’
• Strategies, Policies and Plan ’’
• Major groups involvement ’’

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• Programmes and projects
• Status (of the industry)
• Challenges
• Capacity building - Education, Training and awareness raising
• Information;
• Research and Technology;
• Financing; and
• Co-operation.

However, this paper looks at some aspects that need further expatiations on the adopted
strategies. These include the following:-

The status of tourism in the agenda as ascribed to the Nigerian tourism industry in 1999 is that it
plays a potential vital role in the country’s economy including;
• Employment creation;
• Generation of foreign exchange;
• Attraction of investors;
• Updating of people’s knowledge;
• Cross fertilization of technological and educational know-how;
• Cultural interaction;
• Promotion of cultural awareness; and
• Rural and Urban integration.

One of the cardinal aspects of the sustainable tourism agenda is capacity building - education,
training and awareness raising. The provisions stated that available training facilities for
employees in the tourism industry are geared towards assisting them in understanding, applying
and promoting sustainable tourism in the areas of:
• Establishment of schools to train tourism officers and those in the hotels and hospitality
• Introduction of department of tourism in colleges of Technology;
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• Inclusion of tourism in the educational curriculum in tertiary and university levels; and
• Establishment of conservation schools.


In reviewing the reform agenda of the present administration, the Information Ministry remarked
that the government was straight forward in its submission when it stated via its website page
“Nigeria Direct” that ‘‘in striving to achieve the reform agenda ……………the challenges
envisaged include:
- Entrenched practices and prejudices that need to be changed;
- Lack of adequate public understanding and awareness;
- Inadequate statistical data for planning;
- Anticipated fight back by apparent loser;
- Lack of enough commitment to the total realization of reform;
- Ability to create a convenient environment for private sector participation; and
- Political insecurity’’.

For the tourism industry, it was further remarked that the challenges most visible in addition
to the above are:
• Lack of adequate awareness;
• Economic constraints for effective monitoring and enforcement;
• Inadequate finance and banking services;
• Development of infrastructure.
(UN Commission: 1999).


The policy is a guide for action. The Nigeria tourism industry has been on the road map for
development over time. This is evident in the provisions of a road map for the harmonisation and
diversification of the tourism resources. In 1990, a tourism developments policy was established
and was partially implemented due to non implementation of the provisions. It was also seen to
be a toothless bulldog for the fact that it was not been funded for action.
Nonetheless, the policy made provisions upon which the 2005 reviewed policy was made more
proactive to tourism development needs in Nigeria.
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The 2005 reviewed Tourism policy provided for a mandate; Policy Thrust, institutional
framework; funding among others with the 2006 Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan
designed along the policy guide.


In the Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan of 2006, tourism diversification strategies are
stressed with interests covering all the tourism policy and development matters. The document
produced in three volumes touched most aspects to do with sustainable tourism development in
line with global best practices.

The methods adopted for this paper is the application of the documentary and observation
approaches. A good understanding of the industry and the events that happen on daily basis to the
administration and operations in the industry has given to the facts presented here. Researches on
the internet, documented profiles and field works have enriched the paper.

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Given what is seen at the present situation is the attention on the sector by the present
administration that is making efforts to position tourism as a major contributor to the national
economy. The review and implementation of the tourism development master plan of 2006 from
2010 as against 2007 indicates a wake up effort.

The issue of governance that will administer the sector has also seen the resuscitation of the
Presidential Council on Tourism which is to be chaired by His Excellency the President and
Commander-in-Chief and the Tourism Steering Committee which is chaired by the Honourable
Minister are very important in ensuring the implementation of the Master Plan and to the future of
the industry in Nigeria.

The Federal Ministry for Culture and Tourism needs UNWTO and foreign partner strengthening
to fulfill its role in securing the necessary Federal investment, target setting and monitoring. Here
too, the need for economists, planners and personnel with statistics and industry experience are
much in demand to fulfill the industry.

Meeting the desires of the industry to make Nigeria the ultimate tourist destination requires that
some Parastatals of the ministry are to be restructured and upgraded to meet global practices.

The commercial sector is also seen to lack the much needed strong single voice to articulate its
needs to government. The overall state of the commercial sector of the tourist industry and the
lack of government support and the multi taxation of the industry underline the need for a strong
single industry voice

Despite the existence of a number of funding schemes targeting SME enterprises and available to
applicants in the tourism sector, the conditions are currently too restrictive to effectively foster
investment in the sector. The conditions and process to obtain Bank of Industry funding need to
be made simpler and more accessible.

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The collection and compilation of tourism statistics is as well discovered to be scanty and needs
urgent improvement. The reliability of the current statistics is extremely low and no information
was available on tourists spending and overall tourist revenue for the country.

The total number of international air visitors to Nigeria in 2004 (the benchmark year) is estimated
at 190,000. The level of spending by international tourists in 2004 is estimated to be N 36 billion
(US$ 280million).

Between 2007 and 2010, the receipts on International tourism have been some what progressive
as seen presented below:-



PARAMETER 2007 2008 2009 2010

TOURISM 213 221 240 259


Sources: Consumer International, 2011.

New Arab Consumer, 2011.

* It is important to note that these receipts are from international tourist alone excluding those
from the sea and land borders.
* Domestic figures on national tourism activities are not available for analysis.


PRODUCT (2009)


Hotel & Restaurant 0.49%

Telecommunication 3.67%
Manufacturing 4.19%

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Building 1.98%

Crude Petroleum 16.05%

/Nat. Gas

Solid Mineral 0.38%

Finance/Insurance 3.71%

Agriculture 41.84%

Wholesale/Retail 18.16%
Others 7.04%

Source: Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics, 2009.

The performance of the hotel and restaurant sub sector of the tourism industry is quite dismal but
should receipts from other sub sectors like the travels and transport, tourism sites and resorts,
souvenirs and other support services like banking, insurance etc

To be effective and efficient in stimulating investment in development of the tourism clusters, the
current conditions of the funding schemes for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME)
companies is not responsive and will need to be amended as they are too complicated and
difficult for SMEs.

It is quite disturbing to find out that of the huge investments in the tourism industry in Nigeria,
most projects of this economic sector had not been successful in securing incentives for a
proposed investment. The same applies to the mandated fund available through the Bank of
Industry for lending to SME enterprise. This as a result of complicated application processes and
the inability of people in the sector to prepare adequate business plans.

The current marketing approach is also seen to be very weak. The marketing of Nigeria as a
tourist destination is under funded and lacks a strategic marketing approach. The marketing
collaterals are not up to international standards while they are informative they are not customer
friendly. A survey of tour operators in the UK, Europe and the United States of America indicated
a lack of information or knowledge about Nigeria as a tourist destination.

Air transport capacity (both external and internal) is fairly satisfactory to meet the needs of
tourism growth in the immediate future. The safety aspect of the internal air transport has recently
become a matter of concern. The international airports terminal buildings are satisfactory,

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however the runways and other airport facilities need upgrading and repairs. The domestic
terminals are poor and need modernisation.

The road network is fairly adequate with some exceptions of the roads to tourist sites which are
being addressed. City taxis need to be upgraded and fitted with meters. The rail network will not
serve or have any impact on tourism in the near future.

The visa regime as it is currently operated is a fairly improved with tourist visa introduced for
tourists to Nigeria in a bid to be tourism friendly.

The range and number of festivals, events and sites can be a highly marketable product but they
require some strategic improvement to make them more marketable. Event management needs to
be professional, spectator facilities; safety, access and parking need improvement.

Internationally operated hotels are currently providing a high quality product to the business
market. The spare capacity that currently exists at these properties are yet to be offered to tour
operators at favourable rates. Private locally operated hotels are currently performing poorly but
an opportunity exists for the development of more good quality professionally managed
“boutique” hotels that are capable to develop niche markets.

Government bodies are still operating hotels as they are not providing an acceptable quality and
such hotels would be best managed by the private sector.

Accommodation and catering facilities are not fully developed at the National Parks and the
management of accommodation and catering at the National Parks should be privatized.

The conference facilities in the capital cities are seen to be fairly located. There is a need to
encourage private sector local conference management companies in Abuja to provide a
professional conference service and organize social events for delegates and spouses. The public
section is not equipped to provide the professionalism required.

The human resources capabilities of the tourism and hospitality sectors are lagging far behind in
terms of quality, standards and skills delivery. There is a lack of balance between management
and supervisory training and craft skills training. The numbers receiving craft skills training need

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to be greatly increased as institutions have management programmes dominating the list of
programmes run.

The various education providers do not specify skills or programme outcomes. There is no way of
ensuring consistent delivery of quality outcomes nor is there any way for auditing the quality of
outcomes of the various training and education institutions. The conditions in the training
institutes are very poor, dirty, ill equipped, badly maintained and are under-funded. The
management and staff morale is poor and at a low level. A number of institutions train their
course attendees in theoretical aspects but have no on-site practice training facilities.

There is a significant shortage of suitably qualified instructors, teachers and lecturers across the
teaching faculty. They also lack industry experience and an international aspect. The consequence
is that the teaching methods and course content are out of date.

The foregoing is an overview of the current situation in tourism and of the issues that currently
exist and are discussed thus:-


The Master Plan’s strategic recommendations are meant to determines the direction, methodology
and actions the government must take if tourism is to become a profitable and sustainable
economic activity linked to the governments overall policy of development through institutional
capacity building.

The development of a vibrant tourism industry will rest with a range of actions and
implementation processes which shows the way forward through a series of recommendations
and action plans as well as the implementation processes necessary to make them work. The
following is a summary of some key recommendations from which the Action and
Implementation Programme evolves:-

Positioning Nigeria Tourism: That Nigeria adopts a clear identifiable positioning as a cultural and
regional conference destination in the tourism marketplace;

Tourism Clusters: The development of tourism should be concentrated in five clusters.

The five clusters are:- Tropical Rainforest ; Conference Capital; Atlantic Gateway; Scenic Nature
and Sahara Gateway

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Product Development: Market led quality products should be developed for international,
regional and domestic tourists

Flagship Tourism Projects: Within each tourism cluster, flagship projects should be developed to
act as tourism icons and as a catalyst for all further development of tourism within the cluster.
The Flagship Projects proposed are:

Tinapa Business, Leisure and Conference Resort (Tropical Rainforest) Cross River Tropical
Rainforest (Tropical Rainforest) Development of Conference, Meetings and Event Management
Capability (Conference Capital) Farin Ruwa Eco Tourism Project (Conference Capital) Olokola
Cultural Resort (Atlantic Gateway) Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture (Scenic Nature)
Ancient City of Kano (Sahara Gateway)

Sites of Regional Significance: Investment resources should be allocated to a number of sites of

regional significance which are unique to Nigeria and offer the country a competitive advantage

Accommodation: Encourage the development of international three star hotels. The management
and operation of all accommodation units be privatized and that privately owned “Boutique”
hotels be encouraged. Implement hotel classification as a development as well as a marketing tool

The Environment: Each State Government should appoint a Waste Management Officer to
establish and implement a waste management system involving the general public, Local
Governments and private waste management enterprises. The development of tourism products
should be preceded by an environment impact study. Planning and the protection of cultural
assets and heritage sites requires the co-ordination of the three tiers of government and
particularly local governments.

Safety and Security: Establish the Tourism Security Committee to coordinate the security aspects
of tourism

HIV/AIDS: Advice notices for tourists on HIV / Aids be produced and distributed through hotels
and other outlets. All promotional activities be aimed at attracting responsible tourists

Arts and Crafts: Reconstitute the National Crafts Council. Establish design centres and mobile
clinics introducing standards and quality control

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Festivals and Events: Promote the initial Calendar of Festivals and agree annual dates
Improve spectator facilities and crowd control where needed. Develop a new national cultural
show with the National Dance Troupe to be based in the new Culture & Tourism Centre

National Parks: Strengthen the protection role of the National Parks Service. Implement
the recommendations made for the individual parks within the clusters

Access and Internal Transport: Perimeter fencing should be erected at all airports. Safety
requirements should be fully implemented for all domestic aircraft and air traffic

Marketing: A significant increase in marketing expenditure will be required to overcome the lack
of awareness of Nigeria as a tourist destination and the very poor image of the country in the
main international markets. A budget of US$15million over five years (2006-2010) is the
minimum recommended for marketing purposes.

Target Markets: Marketing activities will be focused on the following target markets which are
considered to offer the best prospects for Nigeria International – United Kingdom, Western
Europe, USA, South America, Caribbean Regional - ECOWAS, South Africa.

Market Segments: Marketing activities will be focused on the following market segments which
are considered to offer the best prospects for Nigeria:-
- Leisure – New Experience Seekers, Diaspora, Expatriate Community, Family
- Business – Conference/Meetings
- Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR)
- Other – Religious Crusades, Sporting Events, Shopping

Marketing Approach: The overall marketing approach for tourism in Nigeria will be to create a
range of holiday packages and market these packages directly to international tour operators and
regional travel agents for inclusion in their holiday pogrammes. A major promotional and public
relations campaign will also be undertaken to
counteract the country’s negative image

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Branding: A new brand for Nigeria Tourism will be put in place which will project a new
vibrant image for Nigeria

Partnership: All marketing activities will be part of an integrated marketing plan and
implemented in partnership with the industry.

Capacity building: Establish a National Institute for Culture and Tourism to research, plan and
oversee education and training for the culture and tourism sector. Establish Abuja College of
Culture and Tourism Studies aimed at becoming the
premier tourism and cultural college serving West Africa.

Legislation: New legislation be enacted identifying clear roles for the federal and state agencies in

Nigeria Tourism Authority: In line with best practice establish Nigeria Tourism Authority to
implement government tourism policy.

Convention Bureau: For the promotion of Nigeria as a regional conference and meetings
destination establish the Abuja Visitor and Convention Bureau within the structure of the
Nigeria Tourism Authority

Visa Regime: The requirement to obtain a single entry visitor visa for a stay of up to one month
should be removed for nationals of tourist producing countries and potential tourist producing
countries where it is deemed that migrant workers will not be seeking jobs in Nigeria

Tourism Satellite Account: To produce a Tourism Satellite Account for Nigeria in 2008 the
following should be implemented, starting in 2006
• Introduce redesigned migration forms
• Implement twice-yearly airport exit surveys
• Include domestic travel in the household omnibus survey programme
• The NTA implement simplified surveys at major land borders
• The NTA implement surveys into niche markets within Nigeria

37 | P a g e
• The Central Bank and other agencies to be strongly involved.

Incentives and Investment Programme: The recommended incentives should be put in place and
promulgated including:-
*Soft Loans *Tax Incentives *Grant Scheme *Pioneer status *Duty Free Import of equipment
*Land at concessionary rate *Surety of foreign loans. The existing disincentives should be
removed or consolidated.

Tourism Management Information System: Implement an efficient TIS including information on

visitor numbers, characteristics, behaviour and spending. Collect employment statistics,
accommodation occupancy rates and then analyse and promulgate findings

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Nigeria, although rich in natural and man-made tourism resources, has failed to diversify its
economy, and has been unable to ensure that economic benefits of sustainable development have
reached all sectors of the community. In many countries tourism has been found to be an
appropriate industry to support in order to diversify economies and work towards poverty
alleviation through job creation in rural areas. Nigeria, although well endowed with both natural
and manmade attractions, has failed to achieve any significant position as a tourist destination for
foreign visitors, or been able to develop any substantial domestic tourism sector.

There is a requirement for a modern Federal policy for tourism that can translate to State and
local level as well as a clear planning structure for the Nigerian tourism sector. Nigeria needs
improved technical and management skills within the tourism sector, and to make better and more
cost effective use of training resources. Improved data gathering within the tourism sector is
essential, as this will have impacts in better physical and infrastructural planning, better targeted
marketing, and a greater awareness of the benefits of tourism to the Nigeria.

Apart from the Federal and State Governments, and existing tourism enterprises, direct
beneficiaries will be the towns and communities participating in the development of tourism.
Within these communities, the direct recipients of increased income will be; tour guides;
handicraft producers and sellers; taxi operators; caterers; accommodation providers; and persons
employed on the maintenance of community tourism facilities. Other local enterprises serving
tourism areas (particularly small shops, restaurants/bars, and farmers) will benefit from increased
demand for goods and services because of enhanced spending power in local communities.
Further positive impacts for the building sector are anticipated as beneficiaries seek to develop
visitor accommodation of international standards and to improve their own dwellings.

Increases in visitor numbers (due to the implementation of marketing strategies and prioritisation
of plans and programmes) will provide additional revenue at governmental level through greater
taxation revenue resulting from increases in stop-over and day visitors who wish to experience
the various tourist attractions, while the wider tourism sector of Nigeria (hotels, restaurants, car
rental companies, retail outlets, airlines, facility operators etc) will also experience increased

39 | P a g e
As part of the outcome and the framework expected of the development pan, the industry will:-
* Additional assistance in poverty reduction, particularly in provincial centres;
* New development opportunities for women and young people;
* Strengthened national capacity for policy and programme implementation;
* Better management of national resources and
* Improved sector governance.
Hence, the outcome indicator and targets shall include the following:-
* Establishment of baseline data for the tourism sector
* . Improved structure for tourism governance in Nigeria
* . Increased numbers of domestic and foreign tourists by a minimum of 50% within five
40 | P a g e
* . Increased numbers of people employed in the tourism sector by a minimum of 40%
within five years
* . Increased economic growth in the tourism sector above GDP growth rates

The applicable Strategic Area of Support will have the following:-

* Poverty eradication programme through capacity building of national institutions, and
expanding and reinforcing the skills development programme for skills acquisition and business
and entrepreneurship development.

* The partnership Strategy further will be to support the development of an effective

partnership between Federal and State tourism authorities and private sector tourism enterprises.

41 | P a g e
The challenges envisaged with the diversification of the tourism resources aside those discussed
earlier include but not limited to the following:-

 Lack of interest by the public sector to fund awareness campaign to encourage the
populace to embrace the tourism art and practice to harness the resources;

 The pursuit of tourism activities is seen as an elitist hence majority of the lower strata
of the society find no reward in its pursuit;

 Entrenched practices and prejudices of the population towards tourism resource are
difficult to imbibe;

 Lack of adequate public understanding and awareness;

 Inadequate statistical data for planning;

 Non regulation of the industry and anticipated fight back by apparent losers;

 Lack of enough commitment to the total realization of reform;

 Ability to create a convenient environment for private sector participation;

 Political insecurity;

 Economic constraints for effective monitoring and enforcement;

 Inadequate finance and banking services;

 Development of infrastructure;

 Inadequate disposable income to motivate travel to and participation;

 Non implementation of tourism policy and the development master plan;

 Aggressive pursuit of government laws without adequate awareness creation

resulting to friction with the services providers e.g the celebrated case of Hotel
Registration matter between FG and Lagos State Government among others;

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 Non established market for the tourism resources through researches;

 Low political will to pursue the cause of tourism to be given recognition as a major
contributor to national economy;


There are prospects for the diversification of the tourism resources for development. These can be
summarised thus:-

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 Existence of institutional or administrative structure and framework at the three tiers
of government to create conducive environment for the development of tourism
resources at the Federal, State and Local Government levels;

 The existence of the industry blue print which is translated into the policy on tourism
promulgated in 2005 to guide tourism resource development;

 The production of the Nigeria Tourism Development Master Plan rolled out in 2006
to lead the part for tourism development in the country;

 Legislation of the industry are fairly adequate in some States and Federal levels;

 Investment opportunities abound in most locations of Nigeria in tourist services;

 Rich attitude of Nigerian who love to travel;

 Mass travels to Nigeria in pursuit of business endeavours and visiting friends and

 Creation of mass jobs from various the tourism resources for the teaming
unemployed population which will in turn reduce poverty level.

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Tourism is an industry with abundant potential for growth. It creates employment, generates
income including foreign exchange and increases tax revenue. Apart from the financial gains the
environment is conserved and beautified whilst funds are expended on infrastructural
development thereby enabling both visitors and locals derive benefits from a sustainable national
tourism policy-when put in place and appropriately implemented.

Creation of an appropriate legal frame work is essential. As indicated above some of Nigeria’s
existing laws would need to be reviewed to ensure that the legal environment is favourable to the
development of Nigeria as a preferred tourist destination. Furthermore enforcement of legislation
is essential and appropriate enforcement machinery will need to be put in place.

The principal conclusions from the analysis of the economic impact of Tourism on the economy
of Nigeria conducted by the project are:

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Spending by international tourists has a direct impact on the national economy. Downstream
economic impacts from the “export” revenues of international tourist spending are estimated to
generate additional gross revenue. While the incidence of domestic leisure travel may be low, the
sheer size of Nigeria’s population means that there is a significant contribution to the demand for
tourism services from domestic travel activity. The revenue value of this impact is unknown. The
revenue generated from travel within the country by employees and staff of Federal Government
departments and agencies generates a demand need to be encouraged.

State governments also make a considerable contribution to the transport and hospitality sector in
the undertaking of official travel activities. The revenue value of this impact is unknown. The
contribution to government revenue from VAT levies on the Hospitality sector, recorded is
considered to grossly understate the actual level of revenue received including that of Company
Income tax generated by the Hospitality sector.

Implementation of the Tourism Development Master Plan in Tourism Cluster development will
disperse the economic benefits from tourism activity. The economic benefits from tourism
activity will be spread much wider and to a greater proportion of the population than is currently
the case. Demand for labour will receive a very significant stimulus from implementation of the
proposed Tourism Development Master Plan.

The future for tourism in Nigeria is dependent on the opportunities and challenges being
exploited and addressed. The diversity of cultural attractions, the friendly disposition of the
people, a revamped National Tourism Organisation, Human Resources Development and new
Convention Bureau provide key opportunities.

Implementation of the Tourism Development Master Plan will be a major challenge for the
government and industry, as will changing the international image of Nigeria. Improving the
quality of the product and facilities and putting in place a comprehensive training programme will
require a very strong partnership between the public and private sectors. If the opportunities and
potentials, which Nigeria has, are exploited and the challenges met, substantial investment in
planned and strategic marketing of Nigeria as a desirable tourist destination will be required and
will pay positive and substantial dividends.


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In a bid to diversify the economy of the nation through tourism given the challenges and
prospects of the resources, it is recommended that:-

i. The funding of the campaign to enlighten Nigerians of the importance of the tourism
industry to the citizens’ socio-economic well being and its contribution to the
national economy should be undertaken.

ii. The attitude of Nigerians should be changed to be tourism friendly as other sister
West African countries are.

iii. The generation of data for the planning of the industry is vital to its survival hence
should be undertaken.

iv. Political will and the need to legislate and regulate the industry should be pursued to
keep abreast with the global trends and best practices.

v. The private Sector should be encouraged in the reform process to make the industry
private sector driven.

vi. To ensure security of the resources and the consumers, there should be tourism Police
in place.

vii. The financial sector i.e the banking and the insurance sub sectors should be involved
in the funding of the industry since investments are capital intensive.

viii. The adoption of a niche marketing approach should be critical to the success of the
marketing strategy to be adopted and therefore the success in the developing tourism
in the country.

ix. The potential market segments to be pursued for development should be leisure (new
experience seekers; Nigeria’s Diaspora; special interest; expatriate community;
family holidays), conference and meetings, visiting friends and relatives (VFR),
religious sports and other events.

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x. The Federal Government Agencies responsible for tourism development should be
friendlier in approach with regards to enforcing laws which may not be too friendly
with the States but should rather dialogue and collaborate to achieve success in
developmental endeavours


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