Nigeria's tourism potentials hasn't been taken advantage of all these years.
In 2014, 56 million international tourists visited countries in Africa according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The report also states that Africa witnessed a 6% annual growth of international tourists in Africa. The number of tourists more than doubled from 1995-2014 despite issues such as Ebola and Arab Spring. Most of these tourists were Africans travelling to other African countries.
While this is good news for the continent, it isn't for Nigeria as it failed to attract many international tourists. From 2011-2014, Egypt ranked highest with 9.9 million tourists. Morocco was second with 9.8 million tourists followed by South Africa with 9.2 million people. Tunisia was fourth with 6.8 million people. These four countries made up for more than 60% of visiting international tourists within this period.
West Africa just made up a pitiable 7% of visiting international tourists. With Nigeria making up over half of the subregion's population 370m, the poor tourism numbers are mainly the country's fault.
Tourism is yet to bring in major revenue to Nigeria and that's because the tourism potential hasn't been fully harnessed.
Fu'ad Lawal, a Senior Associate at Pulse, is presently on a 72-day trip to Nigeria. He intends to visit all 36 states within this period.
In his journey, he has met roadblocks and bottlenecks when he tried visiting some historical and cultural places.
"If there's anything I believe will kill Nigerian tourism, it's approvals. Permission to see This and see that" he wrote in frustration when he was told to write a letter to visit The Palace of the Awujale of Ijebu Land. The letter would take at least one week to be approved.
It is obstacles like this that will hinder the growth of tourism in Nigeria.
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