Good times are here for the Nigerian domestic tourism, as the sector is expected to contribute about N3.63 billion to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018, according to an hospitality report released by Jumia Travels, which reviewed the performance of the sector in 2017 and provided insights into 2018.
The report provided insight on the two main components of domestic travel (leisure and business travel). The leisure travel grew at 2.7%, contributing about N1.98 billion to domestic earnings in 2017, while business travel component grew at 2.8% and contributed N1.92 billion to domestic earnings in 2017.
Meanwhile, the travel and tourism sector contributed 1.9% as a direct contribution to Nigeria’s total GDP (estimated at $1.118 trillion), which is N2.3 billion in 2017. The sector’s contribution to the GDP is expected to increase by over 3% in 2018.
The sector’s contribution is also expected to affect the labour market. Tourism is expected to reduce unemployment rate, as the sector is expected to generate a total of 3.4 million jobs, which is an increase of 3.4% from 2017.
The sector also created 1.2 million direct jobs in 2017 (1.8% of total employment) which showed 1.6% growth, compared to 651,000 jobs in 2016. The creation of direct job by the sector is expected to grow by 4.7% in 2018 to 1.3 million jobs.
Also, international arrivals in Nigeria is expected to grow by 1.5%, which means 1.067 million foreigners are expected in 2018. Having recorded a low arrival of foreign tourists in 2016 (due to security issues); Nigeria played host to 1.065 million tourists in 2017, generating over N278 billion revenue in the process.
Tourism expert and founder of Akwaaba Travel Market, Ikechi Uko, said one of the challenges plaguing the sector, as identified in the report, is insufficient flights. He said:
“the number of flight pairs in Nigeria is very low. Lagos and Abuja are already saturated because almost all airlines want to fly there. As such, we need more flights to cut across the country because the travel industry cannot grow without a functional air transport network.”
Also, according to the Chairman/CEO Of Air Peace, Allen Onyeme:
“The travel and hospitality sector is key to the growth of any economy. The benefits of this all-important sector will, however, remain elusive without having a stakeholder tasked with the responsibility of creating the right atmosphere for building the right kinds of infrastructure and ensuring that this is done in a sustainable manner. No stakeholder can perform this role better than the government.”