By Derinola Oyawole
Tourism and travel industry is a crucial growth constituent, a major money spinner and veritable economic advancement if properly nurtured and developed. Among other benefits, it helps in providing jobs & employment creation, crimes reduction, building capacities & capabilities, improving infrastructural facilities, promoting arts & culture, boosting trade and commerce, expanding movements in major transports segments, connecting people faster. It is a lucrative venture that will always guarantee financial provisions (including forex availability), food supplies, innovativeness and business growth.
Blessed with numerous natural & human resources, which are factors of tourism attractions, African nations (Nigeria inclusive) must continue to ambitiously step-up actions to maximally tap from the immense potentials abounding in their various lands. The continent’s consciousness and consistency in developing this [important sector for gains and glory, and also in complementing other allied sectors achieve optimum benefits are essential now. Governments, leaders of nations, Tours and Travels stakeholders should work closely together both internally and externally and go the extra-miles in increasingly exploring this gold mine.
Nigeria as a leading nation in Africa, must as a matter of urgency do more to improve its tourism sector and start reaping big-time from its proceeds, while also ensuring it becomes a leading touristic centre in the continent. Covid-19 was a great setback to the sector globally and caused many untold losses and hardships practitioners and promoters in the sector never wish to experienced again. Rising from the pandemic aftermath, the country’s renewed efforts going forward should ensure this huge market nature has endowed us with provides its attendant blooms and booms.
The debilitating factors affecting Tourism & Travel growth in Nigeria such as insecurity concerns, international airlines trapped funds lack of national carriers, neglect on the wildlife, conservation, heritages and other environmental/tourism sites and public facilities abandonment should be addressed quickly. Other disturbing concerns such as the lack of stable power/energy supply, multiple taxation challenges, corruption issues, monetary and fiscal policies including FOREX problems, dependence on oil as the main economic sustenance among many should be urgently and permanently addressed, especially by the incumbent government.
Governments at all spheres of national life should therefore continually provide the enablement for the industry burgeoning. People at home and all over wants to embark on safe and qualitative leisure. They want to go to interesting and healthy beaches, safely hike on mountain tops, take exciting tours on roads, trains and cruise ships, attend thrilling carnivals, shows, festivals, concerts, art galleries and museums, visit memorable places and spend wonderful time in great hotels, restaurants, eateries and recreational centres. They have planned their time, holidays and want to spend their hard-earned income in a most pleasurable decent and protected locations and must be encouraged to do so through a good tourism and travels sector worldwide. .
Hence, attendance to the industry needs must be available as at when needed. The aviation sector, the nation’s main tourism gateway must work satisfactorily. The operators herein should be constantly assisted and motivated within the framework of global best practices. Aircraft inspections and security, grants and release of support funds, airports facilities upgrade and personnel training and re-training should be regular and ongoing. Trains and rails, , good roads, safe waters devoid of pirates and others should be adequately looked into.
Hoteliers/resorts/leisure providers should be up and doing giving the best and affordable services that will inspire a re-visit by lodgers and tourists. Cuisines and foods sellers, souvenirs merchants, tour guides, carnival organisers, bureau de change dealers, marine and water services promoters, rail trips handlers, trade fairs planners, security personnel (at public and private levels), interpreters, conference, seminars and meetings managers, fun seekers and givers, etc in the industry should synergise effectively for tourism benefits and sustenance
National quandaries emanating from this sector can be greatly abated if we make it a national priority, an important revenue generator, peace of mind provider and progress medium. In ensuring tourism exists, flourish and is sustained, the world’s largest tourism trade fair, the (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) was established. ITB-Berlin successfully running its course for many years enable the annual gathering of hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies among others crucial actors’ and representatives coming together and networked effectually. The globally renowned yearly event which takes place in Berlin, Germany is a core global gathering of tourism and travel industry players.
The well-themed, well-planned and leading travel market-place expose visitors and exhibitors to and also helps them access tourism products, services and establishment such as: Book World, Business Travel Days, Cruises, Cultural Tourism, Economy Accommodation, eTravel World, Adventure & Responsible Tourism, Gay & Lesbian Travel, ITB Mobile Travel Services, Training and Employment (Career Center), Travel Technology, Trends & Events, Wellness, Youth Travel and media corner/hub.
Since 1966, ITB-Berlin has had tremendous impact across nations and people with impressive annual attendance. The tourism trade show which was adversely disrupted by the pandemic was cancelled in 2020; held virtually in 2021 & 2022 and resumed its onsite/physical participation in 2023, in Berlin. Special invitee, visitors, exhibitors and journalists (including from Nigeria), among others attended and actively participated at the event. The 2023 edition had Georgia as the country guest) and was a great show.
On 7-9th, March 2023, all roads from the remotest part of world led to Messe Berlin in Germany, in Europe for the ITB-2023, as thousands of tours, travels, nature lovers and players assembled to advance the sector universally. The event further provided the needed windows and insights to uniquely and broadly learn about different countries and organisations tourism affairs, offers, management and markets.
The hall settings, participants, ambiance, various displays, event planning and high level preparedness by organisers and other features and effects attested an event of class and dignity.
Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine (ANIM) crew was also in the 3-days tourism-trade show. Its attendance was geared at providing useful knowledge, links and platforms that will rapidly transform Nigeria tourism sector in the region. The media organisation, the only one in the country and one of few in the continent that participated had a great outing.
Danke ITB -Berlin for always putting up outstanding event.