Friday, November 23, 2012

Nigeria Gaining Global Recognition as a Tourist Hotspot

Agbokim Waterfalls: One of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria.

Nigeria Gaining Global Recognition as a Tourist Hotspot

According to a report released by World Travel Market and Euromonitor International earlier this year, Nigeria is now one of the fastest growing locations in Africa for tourism. The report states that one of the main reasons for this growth is the rise in inter-regional travel within Africa. The improvement of the economy of numerous countries within the continent has led to the citizens possessing increased disposable income, which has boosted the number of people from other African countries who take vacations in Nigeria. This has led to a dramatic rise in the amount of hotels being opened and increased employment options within the travel industry.

Nollywood


The report highlights the fact that the Nigerian film industry is now the country’s main tourist attraction, as Nigerian films are popular in Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Kenya, South Africa, Gabon, Gambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are also widely viewed within Nigerian communities in Great Britain and the USA. According to the Daily Times, the industry, which has been nicknamed ‘Nollywood’, is currently the second largest film producer in the world in terms of the amount of films that it puts out. It is responsible for the creation of a staggering two thousand films each year, putting it ahead of Hollywood, and comes second only to Bollywood with regards to productivity, Bollywood putting out approximately three thousand five hundred films per year. Filming locations in Abuja and Lagos are now visited by droves of tourists who are curious to see the setting for their favourite Nollywood movies and set foot in locations where the stars have stood.

Family Cruises


Nigeria is also becoming increasingly popular as a family cruise location. Banana Island is the nation’s most popular destination for cruises. Tourists are fascinated by this man-made stretch of land and enjoy marvelling at its beautiful buildings and eating at its numerous food outlets. They are also attracted to the glamour of the area, as it has been featured in a number of different international publications on account of being such an affluent and exclusive part of Lagos. Other popular sights to see for tourists taking part in boat trips in the lagoon waterways surrounding Lagos include Snake Island, Ogogoro Island, Tin-Can Port, Apapa Wharf and Mokoko Village.

Eco-Tourism

Another of the areas of tourism that is doing particularly well in Nigeria at the moment is eco-tourism. The Yankari Game Reserve in south-central Bauchi State can draw over twenty thousand visitors from a hundred different countries within the space of a single year and is regarded as being one of the world’s most tourist friendly nature reserves. Foreign tourists are attracted to the idea that they are witnessing conservation in action and enjoy marvelling at rare wild animals that they would not find in their home countries.

Eco-tourism has an advantage over conventional tourism in that a larger percentage of the money that is generated goes to the Nigerian people. Regular, all-inclusive package tours usually deliver around a fifth of revenues to local companies, whereas Nigerian-based eco-tourism operations that hire workers locally pump up to ninety-five percent of the money that is generated back into the local economy.

The Future Is Looking Bright For Tourism in Nigeria

The report by World Travel Market and Euromonitor International states that the amount of foreign tourists making their way to Nigeria is predicted to rise by at least three percent each year until 2016. The amount of people booking trips to the country is set to rise by four and a half percent by the end of 2013. This means extra money for the hotel, entertainment and travel industries. According to a recent study, Nigeria ranks first in the world for rate of hotel construction, with over forty new hotels set to open within the next half decade. Lagos has emerged as the main site for holiday accommodation, with numerous luxury hotels in the works. Hopefully within the next decade, Nigeria will be one of the world’s premier vacation destinations. The country has everything from wildlife and breathtaking scenery to one of the world’s best film industries so it is high time that it became a hub for foreign visitors. Perhaps this could be the boost to Nigeria’s economy that will alleviate the poverty that grips some of the nation.


~ Laura Chapman

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