Making A Case For Tourism Investment In Nigeria.
The fall in crude oil prices in the global market as a result of supply glut further aggravated by shale oil production in the US and lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran has had a negative effect on the Nigerian economy over the past two years.
Crude oil exports is major source of foreign exchange earnings and revenue for the Nigerian economy, thus a slump in global market prices has depleted the revenue of the government and Nigeria being a highly import dependent country has seen high pressure imposed on the Naira. The CBN has moved to strengthen the Naira by restricting access to forex for the importation of certain goods and pegging the Naira at N197 to a Dollar. This situation has led to calls for the government to look inward for solutions. Recently some senators and other individuals have also called on Nigerians to patronise made in Nigeria products to reduce our dependence on importation, hence reducing the pressure on the Naira and the foreign reserves.
However, what most people have failed to talk about is how investment in tourism can actually be a potential foreign exchange earner for the Nigerian economy alongside the multiplier effects of employment creation both directly and indirectly. The Nigerian tourism sector is a sector with highly untapped economic potential.
In 2013 according to World Bank data, India earned an estimated US$19 billion in international tourism receipts, while Mexico earned an estimated US$14 billion, South Africa US$10 billion and Morocco earned US$8 billion in international receipts compared to Nigeria’s meagre US$641 million.
Nigeria can tap into this potential goldmine by developing our tourist attraction sites like Osun Osogbo groove, Obudu mountain resort in Cross River state, Ibeno Beach in Akwa Ibom, Alok Ikom Monoliths et al into excellent sites as well as developing the requisite infrastructures like roads, electricity, transportation and most importantly security.
The sector would not only increase the much needed foreign exchange earnings, it would also have a multiplier effect of job creation (both direct and indirect) and boosting economic activities especially the activities of hotel owners and the consumer sector.