According to the International Air Travel Association (IATA), the sector, which has the potential to generate significant employment, foreign investment, and currency, is heavily reliant on international tourists for its 20% contribution to the economy. Most sections of Nigeria, face instability due to insecurity. Kidnappings and ritual killings have escalated as a result of insurgency, communal killings caused by herdsmen and farmers disputes, loss of livelihoods caused by COVID, and a “get-rich-quick” mindset.
Otunba Ayo Olumoko, managing director of Infogem Limited and vice president of ITPN, Southwest, whose firm has advised on tourism, culture, and festival projects in the southwest, said the lack of security in all Nigerian states had hampered corporate investment and international agency support for tourism. “Getting overseas tourists to visit Nigeria is challenging. International researchers who are interested in learning more about Nigeria and Nigerian culture usually visit. Insecurity has unfortunately eaten so deeply into the nation’s marrow that it has harmed Nigeria’s image “he stated
Domestic tourism, which has been hailed as the “low hanging fruit” for boosting the sector’s growth post-pandemic, is likewise threatened by insecurity. Susan Akooriaye, president of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA), claimed that increasing insecurity activities have made Nigerians reluctant to travel within the nation.
She pointed out that NANTA’s decision to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Kano was met with blatant opposition from members, let alone international tourists. She also emphasized the importance of domestic tourism “Nigeria would not be able to generate the type of money it wants in tourism by marketing ‘Nigerian tourism’ to Nigerians alone. If you sell tourism to foreigners, you make more money and contribute to the GDP.”
Because of the insecurity, Motley Travels and Logistics Limited, an Abuja-based tourism firm that provides tour packages to Nigerians and foreigners throughout the country, has seen a drop in business. According to CEO Mark More, tourist trips that drew 100 online subscribers have plummeted, with roughly 40 subscribers questioning safety prompting a decrease in the company’s yearly group tours.
Regardless of the dismal picture, private operators are taking the initiative to ensure their survival.