Nigeria Tourism: Good Prospect But Bleak Future?… A review of 2011 World Travel Market


The World Travel Market ended its 35th year traveling exhibition recently with a resounding success. WTM is the leading global event for the travel and tourism industry. It attracts almost 48,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, who congregate in London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinions and trends.

WTM’s Global Media Network, comprising of key travel industry media around the world, recognizes organizations and individuals whom have contributed to their region’s travel and tourism industry.

As thousands gathered for the year’s travel fair and exhibition, Nigeria continued to take a huge part with thousands of pounds expended in fair contribution and other fair overheads.

Nigeria really has nothing to celebrate as the fair drew to a close.

With 2011 World Trade Market drew to a close, Nigeria in real truthful facts has nothing to celebrate as her main achievements except the usual Media hypes.

Nothing specific has been noticed except for many unattractive activities of some of the imported Tourism Board officials who had no clue of events at the international travel exhibition.

Only few desks of two or three participants  with no activities were noticeable for the four day running exhibitions.

May be few changes next year if  the tourism board gets its hearts right and create a formidable national treasures’  selling team.Many travel Agents who should play big roles are sidetracked and have bitterly  complained at the back ground that the current show of shame by Nigeria is mere a self inflicting doom with no prospect of any future hopes.

“What we have witnessed in recent years is a sheer one-man show and Nigerian tourism is business and nation’s exposure is far bigger than a one man business”, decried a top travel Agent who claimed to have observed Nigeria’s participation in the last five years.

“All we can see here is the mounted pavilions with the national colours. No activities as it was a recollection of what has happened in the past years.

Many Nigerians who reside in the United Kingdom could have been more participating just like many other countries with huge turn out and feel of pride for their nations.

In 2010, Nigerians who were lucky to attend were treated to the most contemptuous welcome as many cried of hunger with no provision for food and drinks.  A caterer who was contracted for food was said to have absconded with a sum of £8000 which was handed to her without provision for any food. The same scenario unfolded last year  with many of the imported staff lacking in courtesy.

As one irate attendee put it: ” We came, we saw but did we conquer anything despite the huge money expended?

Nigerians decry sidetracking of our talents and National treasures at World Travel Market?

Enthusiastic Nigerians with passion and mission for the nation continue to be treated like aliens while on the floor of the WTM with  many of them who were  attempting to promote Nigeria at the World Travel Market threatened with litigation for  showcasing Nigeria in Magazines and highlighting the prospects of future tourism.

” I was maltreated for using the name of Nigeria because I have a Magazine that is named after the country”, a passionate Nigeria confided while in discussion with EMNnews Travel in London. A top official was said to have threatened because Nigeria name was showing in the Nigeria Tourism Magazine which had been self sponsored for over four years

“I thought I was going to be encouraged but I was humiliated and threatened with litigation because the name Nigeria appeared on the Magazine” ,    

No publicity by the Nigerian Tourism board to involve  Nigerians in United Kingdom!

Despite huge amounts of money dedicated to the cause of promotion of Nigerian Tourism each year at World Travel Market, there has never been publicity to enlighten Nigerians in the United Kingdom that the event, which is a Worldwide Tourism carnival is held.

“This may have contributed to the dismal failure of the Nigeria section at the event attracting investors and visitors alike especially the right crop of ambitious investors scouting for investment and generous host nations.”, said an angry attendee who claimed to have attended the event three years consecutively because it is hosted just behind his place of abode.

Another respondent said: “This is a very big national event abroad and all Nigerians should be invited to bring along their friends. Judging by the pavilion, millions of Pounds must have been expended without much activity happening here”.

True to these observations, many Nigerians in the United Kingdom are not even aware that World Travel Market takes place yearly in the UK. A short survey among Nigerians based in the United Kingdom indicated that many Nigerians are completely oblivious of WTM and the mission it holds and those who show up at the four day event are there just for the the contact of other nationals and friends only to discover on arrival that Nigeria has one of the biggest pavilion at the event hosted at EXCEL yearly.

Unlike the Notting Hill and Nigeria Carnivals which attracts thousands of Nigerians and both carnivals related to tourism promotions to the United Kingdom and are held on free entries, attendees to WTM register online. Only a massive campaign for publicity could be making many Nigerians in the UK and Europe register their friends and encouraging investment from across the World

Euromonitor International’s Travel And Tourism in Nigeria report offers a comprehensive guide to the market at a national level.

It looks at travel accommodation, transportation, car rental, tourist attractions and retail travel. It identifies the leading companies and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market, including background information on tourism inflows, disposable income, annual leave and holiday taking habits.

Its conclusion on Nigeria’s activities in her presence for many years says it all as it approached Nigeria’s mediocrity and shamefulness  diplomatically in order to wad-off  loss of interest in the coming events.

While painting the picture of Nigeria as a main world destination in all areas of endeavour as far as tourism is concerned, it calls for better organisation and marketing.

Warm hearts, no hearts won!

It says: ” With over 250 separate ethnic groups, Nigeria is known for its far-reaching cultural diversity, which attracts a large number of local as well as international tourists each year. However, in order to further develop the growth potential of cultural tourism, there needs to be better organisation and marketing.

So much warm hearts, but no hearts were won  as home base journalists even were  tearing through tough  challenges of their journey with less assistance  from government for day-to-day survival.

Many of the journalist were hanging-on friends here to survive and make ends meet as they try to sell the nation to passers-by.

A journalist told me: ” We are even lucky to be here as representatives from Nigeria securing tickets. No money to survive but old  friends are driving me through life here”

No professional marketers, no Airlines, no hotel representative except for an inactive Radissons hotels little desks and no traveling Agents to exhibit their wares and market the nation professionally as seen in manyother pavilion in the fair.

Thanks to Cross Rivers corner at the Nigeria pavilion. I t was the only actively visible sight making some impacts as the only success achieved this year, a fact attested to by Euromonitor, describing the state as the nation’s leader in tourism teaching others to follow.

” We have only seen a one man show exhibition here and no way a tree can make a forest as the nation is bigger than what has been shown to the world” an angry Nigeria decried, adding there was no representation from Nigerians in London who make so much of professional life in United Kingdom. ” Shame! big shame!!”, he concluded


Euromonitor International’s Travel And Tourism EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Positive focus on developing the travel and tourism industry
In an attempt to transform travel and tourism into an economically viable industry, the Federal Government of Nigeria has developed a national tourism policy. So far, it has yielded positive results, with a growing number of businesses exploring tourism as a means of generating wealth.

In 2007, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation was very active promoting and marketing tourism in Nigeria. Overall, it helped to create awareness of the benefits that tourism can bring to local communities and other such groups of people.

Cross River State, an emerging tourist destination
Referred to as “People’s Paradise”, Cross River State has emerged as an important tourist destination in Nigeria. Therefore, local government authorities have put a lot of effort into developing tourism infrastructure in the region. The rejuvenation of the Obudu Cattle Ranch and the establishment of Tinapa, Nigeria’s first business resort, are great examples of this.

Both of these locations became major tourist attractions in Nigeria over the review period.

Cultural tourism, a major driving force

With over 250 separate ethnic groups, Nigeria is known for its far-reaching cultural diversity, which attracts a large number of local as well as international tourists each year. However, in order to further develop the growth potential of cultural tourism, there needs to be better organisation and marketing.

Three domestic airlines fly direct to the US
After the US Federal Aviation Administration granted waivers to Arik Air, Bellview and Virgin Nigeria, all three airlines made preparations to start offering direct flights to the US. By early 2008, these three airlines had almost met all of the requirements for the lease of aircraft needed in order to start offering their flights to the US. This development is expected to bring enormous benefits to Nigeria in the short term, as it presents great potential for boosting tourism flow between the US and Nigeria.

Bright outlook for travel and tourism in Nigeria but not a good team

Travel and tourism in Nigeria has a bright future, especially in view of the ongoing efforts made by the government, business organisations and individuals to promote tourism.

The success enjoyed by the Cross River State has gained the attention of other state governments, which are also trying to develop travel and tourism in their states. These efforts and further investments are expected to yield benefits over the forecast period and as competition increases, standards are expected to improve, thus benefiting travel and tourism as a whole.

*World Travel Market (WTM) is the leading global event for the travel industry. Staged annually it is the event for the global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. All sectors of the travel industry are represented from Airlines, Cruise Liners, Hotels, Travel Agents to Technology and Online Travel organisations.

47,512 participants from more than 189 countries and regions took part In WTM 2010. Over 50% of visitors come from outside the UK, compared to 42% of visitors in 2002 when the event was first held at ExCeL London.
Featuring 5,053 exhibitors and exhibiting partners and attended by 26,795 visitors, an increase of 10% from 2009, WTM is a not-to-be missed event in the travel industry’s calendar. WTM organisers Reed Exhibitions were delighted with the success of the 2010 event; their post show research showed that 98% of visitors would return again in 2011.

World Travel Market is an exhibition with a comprehensive conference, seminar and events programme, last year more than 100 sessions took place. Furthermore, WTM operates the largest recurring press centre in the UK, with up to 3,000 journalists using the WTM International Press Centre.

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By Fatai Ogunribido, London, addition WTM Reports