Tourism, which has expanded dramatically over the past years, looks set to continue growing as societies become more mobile and prosperous despite the incessant bombings experienced in the northern part of the country which has affected every sector of the economy, especially the tourism sector. Tourism has remained a means of promoting and showcasing the best of a country’s heritage, norms, hospitality and creativity. As a result, important festivals and events aimed at highlighting the tourism potentials of a country are held to attract tourists and create employment for the youths. Nigeria is no different as her multi-ethnicity is one of the factors responsible for the growth of tourism in the country, in addition to the development of the entertainment industry. It is estimated that the entertainment industry in Nigeria, particularly the movie sector is worth six hundred billion naira, with six thousand producers, three thousand directors and over fifty thousand actors and actresses contributing immensely to the socio-economic growth of the country.
For instance, the revenue generated by sales and rentals of movies in Lagos state, is put at eight hundred and four million naira per week.
Many of these festivals such as the Osun Oshogbo Festival, the Argungu festival, Eyo Festival, and many more, are viable tourist attractions.
The movie industry has seen some measure of improvement over the years in acting skills and filmmaking. This has enabled the industry to meet international standards even though a lot of work still needs to be done. Nigeria’s entertainment industry has also produced internationally acclaimed actors and actresses who have become household names across Africa and some parts of Europe and America.
The music industry has also helped to promote the image of the country with artists like D’Banj and PSquare collaborating with internationally-acclaimed stars.
Since the return of democracy to Nigeria, tourism has gradually grown and the present dispensation has put in place an enabling environment to encourage and promote the tourism sector. Promises have also been made that are yet to come to fruition such as the much awaited 200 million dollars promised to the entertainment industry.
There is no doubt that Nigerians are proud of their heritage and do not miss any opportunity to showcase their various cultures. Regardless of the bomb threats and the fear of bomb attacks, the annual Abuja Cultural Carnival still held this year and drew people from around the world. Nigeria, today, has some of the finest tourism destinations in the world. Amongst such sites are; the Mambilla Plateau, Gashaka/Gumti National Park, Obudu cattle Ranch and Yankari Game Reserve, to mention but a few. If the potentials of these tourism sites are harnessed, Nigeria could earn from tourism close to what it generates from her oil wealth.
The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has been doing its best possible to promote tourism and encourage influx of tourists into the country. Recently, it said it would ensure that Nigeria’s tourism potential will be showcased at the forthcoming Olympic Games in London. This would be done in partnership with the National Sports Commission (NSC).
The Director-General of NTDC, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, in a statement issued by the NTDC in Lagos, said that the Olympic Games would provide the window needed to showcase Nigeria positively in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda.
Runsewe also urged stakeholders to bid for Nigeria’s right to host the games.
“The country has the potential to host such games because such a venture will be of great benefit to the Nigerian economy,” he said.
Only time will tell if Nigeria has the capacity to host the Olympic Games, in spite of security breach in the country.
Until attention is shifted from revenues from oil and tourism and entertainment employed as a strategic tool for employment generation, as well as socio-economic growth and development in the years ahead, the tourism sector and the country at large, would still be struggling.
Filed Under: Tourism