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Lagos at 50 turning traveller to tourist

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By: Prince Adetunji Oluwasina [Tourism consultant and Chairman JETHRO group]

Eko akete, Omo ti o mowe, ko gbo ta fele fele. There is a saying that, if you live in Lagos and you are not wise then, you can be rest assured it will take a while.

I refused to look at the black dot of the events, but I shall celebrate Governor Ambode’s effort on promoting tourism in the state. Also to the Tourism managers of past, the present and the future. For the very first-time reasonable strategy are coming up in Lagos Tourism Ministry to drive the sector. Tourism  is not only about entertainment alone, entertainment is just a small product among others. It is an industry like commerce and agriculture that needs to be harnessed. I pray the next governor after Ambode come 2023 will realised he or she must sustain the tempo with sincerity of purpose not bickering and distraction with intention to derail Lagos from being the greatest among equal in Tourism business destination.

Hence, profile of visitors travelling into Lagos at an aggressive level looks very much like national profile of visitor travelling to Nigeria.

The only major differentiator of Lagos and Nigeria in relation to this variable the high proposition of African Tourists coming into Lagos and not traveling to other state.  For tourism to grow in Nigeria we must understand the dynamics of tourism and the tourism managers must learn to connect the dot to grow the products into revenue generation channel.  We must create a data driven sector and we must also realise one state cannot thrive while others are lacking behind, to get the benefit of Tourism we must cultivate the Tourism products of every state and create a national sustainable calendar for Tourism Products; not with a mentality of Ministry of culture and Information by making tourism to be dot instead of whole. All state Tourism managers must come up with a strategy of turning traveller into Tourist.

While country of Origin is one important aspect of demand, especially when determine which market to targets promotional activities towards, a very useful sub sector variables is the consideration of the purpose of the visitor to Lagos. Connecting the dots are key in the elements of tourism management, three main categories are needed to collate data and drive tourism in Lagos state and other states; Those coming for Holiday, Business, VFR which stand for Visiting friends or relatives. Visiting friends or relative appears to be larger sector in Nigeria. There are leakages in Education tourism and Health tourism as foreign currency and being moved to other country via that loophole via substandard with less quack customer service after treatments and many of our citizens have died in countries after treatment , with over N500 trillion Naira realised since 1999 in oil revenue, diversification should have been then with a world standard Health sector that provides treatments for Cancer, Cardiology and other major ailments and save foreign currency leakages.

At national level 43% of foreign travellers are business tourist and carnival /festivals tourist while 33% are leisure and VFR tourist. In Lagos holiday tourism is lower than national average of 37% and business tourism is higher than the national average at 34%.

Comparing Lagos to rest of the country it is evident that it is also evident that Lagos comes last of all states as religious destination, with over N17 Billion annually being generated as revenue by religious organisation, the state need to tap into the opportunities that are many. Lagos is first as destination for business travellers in Nigeria. Like New York to Washington in United State of America.  In fact, 60% of business spent at least two night on the Island of these business tourist 89% comes on the general business and 11 % came to attend either a conference or exhibition.  There is untapped area that can generate funds, that the state needs to consider and reap the seedling season that they are going through now. Statistics collation, looking at expenditure pattern based on country of origin of travellers as well as purpose of visit to help the state focus on service driven sector not multiple tax vulture’s inputs.  Tourism can be a key driver of the growth and economic diversification for Nigeria, if only the right and well detail minister who understand destination interpretation will be the driver not cut and paste will admit I knew not and assembly credible local content not offshore quacks who do not understand our terrain.

Aggregate demand and effective aggregate demand differ in that aggregate demand might not be realized into effective demand due to constraints. Simply put it is possible that potential demand for Nigeria tourism is greater than actual tourism to Nigeria, and that the difference is due to specific constraints. In such a situation it is necessary for the ministry to seek to address the wall that is visible by building a bridges either directly or through facilitation.   Strategically the first issue is to pinpoint accurately the specific constraint. In such a situation it is insufficient to state safety and security as a constraint, but necessary to be more specific – is the fear real or perceived, is the fear greater at night or in the day, does the fear exit while moving from one area to another or is it fear at a particular site. All these variation would have an impact on the potential remedy. For example if tourist are not visiting a state potential attraction due fear of been kidnaped, hijacked or kill, then the manager of tourism in the state must provide certified Tour Operators transportation may be an option. If the fear is a general perception then this is predominantly a PR and visible policing issue. We have potentials but the mangers of Tourism have been building walls incompetency and it about time we build bridges of sustainable development in this sector called Tourism.

The key argument of mine has been that Tourism interpretation has the potential to make significant and substantial contributions to the development of a more sustainable tourism industry. To achieve this potential, however, requires Nigeria quality interpretation consultant. We have them here, let us promote our own. Ire o Odigba.

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