…Don’t complain there is unemployment in Nigeria because there is always a job in the tourism industry – Chief Michael Ade-Ojo
…As Dr. Mesewaku Babatunde was inducted as Chairman, Institute for Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ITPN) Lagos State Chapter
Olushola Okunlade Writes
This storyline must not be duplicated in any medium or news blog
The investiture ceremony of the Vice President, South West Zone of the Institute For Tourism Professionals Of Nigeria, (ITPN) Otunba Ayodele Michael Olumoko, FITPN, FICA, FIoD at the Eko Hotel & Suite, Victoria Island on Thursday, April 7th, 2022.
The investiture ceremony hosted top dignitaries in the society and in the tourism sector.
Otunba Ayodele Michael Olumoko, an accomplished Integrated Marketing Communications Specialist with a special interest in Community Culture relations. He is the Chief Festival Consultant to major Community Festivals like the UNESCO Listed OSUN GROVE with OSUN OSOGBO Festival (1999 through May 2019), Olojo Festival, and a host of others that his Corporate organization undertakes.
Chairman of the day, Chief Micheal Ade-Ojo accompanied by his beautiful wife, Chief Mrs. Taiwo Ade-Ojo in his opening remarks said: tourism is a very big world that has not been demeanor in any way, he urged the government and well-meaning Nigerians to recognize the tourism industry that belongs to the rich and the poor because the natural wheel has been discovered for tourist to spend their money and observe the holiday.
While speaking further, Chief Ade-Ojo said Nigerians are very creative and always have something to show but were yet to develop it because tourism is a trade for the rich and the poor. Don’t complain there is unemployment in Nigeria because there is always a job in the tourism sector.
View a video of the event, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngx_CvZqLY0
The Guest Speaker, 2nd Vice President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), and Senior Partner, Nelson Thorpe Alonge, Mr. Victor Adekunle Alonge, FNIVS FRICS RSV ACIArb F.IoD who spoke on a topic titled: Tourism in a Hyperconnected World: The Challenges and Opportunities for the Nigerian Tourism Industry, said as the world continues to integrate more than ever before, people and organizations are connecting more and in different ways, than they ever have in the past. This interconnectedness promotes international trade agreements, global business activity, and telecommunication networks among others. The activities often require travel and visitation, making globalization a precursor of tourism. Besides, tourism has emerged as an essential component of societal life, most especially in the developed world as it is increasingly relied upon to meet the recreational and leisure needs of people. Tourism is a strong pillar of sustainable development for both developed and emerging economies. Little wonder that tourism is a vital component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – Goal 8, reflecting its relevance in global reckoning.
Otunba Ayodele Olumoko, Vice President South West Zone of Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) in his acceptance speech, said: “I appreciate the Special Guest of Honour and Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwolu, who has not only honored us with his presence here today but has shown recognition and acknowledgment for Tourism so much so that Tourism is one of the pillars of development of Lagos State under his administration.
“I wholeheartedly thank the Chairman of this Investiture Ceremony, a tireless and visionary industrialist and great entrepreneur of our time, Chief (Dr.) Michael Ade Ojo, OON who out of his very tight schedules honored us with his esteemed presence and exceptional chairmanship of today’s event. I would also want to thank and indeed say that it is a great honor and privilege for the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) and me, in particular, to be honored by having in attendance and here present at my investiture today the, Royal Father of the Day, Oonirisa Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, Arole Ooduwa, Olofin Adimula, The Ooni of Ife and the Co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN); The Guest of Honour, President and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce, Asiwaju Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, CON, FNIM, CNIM; the President and Chairman of Council Institute of Directors (IoD – Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs.) Ije Jidenma, F.IoD; Chairman of the Board of Trustee of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Chief S.O. Alabi, The Iyalaje Oduduwa, Chief (Mrs.) Toyin Kolade.
Thank you, our Guest Speaker, Victor Alonge, FNIVIS, FRICS, F.IoD, Senior Partner, Nelson Thorpe Alonge Estate Surveyors & Valuers, and 2nd Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors & Valuers (NIESV), whose presentation today has not only been enlightening but also incisive. I also acknowledge and say thank you to all of you distinguished ladies and gentlemen who made it a point of duty to be here today despite your other important engagements.
“I am encouraged by your distinguished and esteemed presence here today. It is for me a pointer of confidence, that with your support the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria in the South West, during my tenure as Vice President, South West, will not only witness tremendous progress and support but will strive to be the most outstanding and accomplished region of the Institute operations with a vision for the Institute to emerge stronger in the years ahead.
“I would also like to thank the President and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), Aare Abiodun Odusanwo, FITPN, who took a chance on me years ago when he recommended me as a member of the Council of the Institute. It has been a great privilege to be a part of this leading sector professional body and Aare Abiodun Odusanwo has been a role model and a friend. I am sure his support is one of the reasons why I am here today. I would also not be here today but for the decision of the Governing Council of the Institute. I would like to thank the members of the Council. I am grateful for the trust they have placed in me, and I will work to justify their faith, the opportunity given me to serve, and to earn your trust.”
I’d like to thank my nuclear family for joining me on this journey. I am happy to note that my wife and children have been incredibly supportive all the way. And last but not least, I would like to thank all the members of the Tourism family here present, who recognize as much as I do that this is an important moment in the history of Tourism Human Capital Development, and Tourism education in Nigeria and the South West region in particular. South West is endowed with remarkable talents and skills capable of making the region the most outstanding in Tourism and Hospitality service delivery in Nigeria with the appropriate guidance and skills development and professional training. For those of you who don’t know much about the Institute before now, you will soon come to realize that the best thing about my becoming the vice president of ITPN South West, is the Institute’s commitment to ensuring the highest standards of professional competence to its members, setting national professional standards and providing professional development opportunities through qualifications, training courses and events in Tourism and Hospitality is now at very doorsteps of states and communities in the southwest.
The southwest zone of the nation is one of the blessed regions in Nigeria with abundant tourism potential that if properly and well harnessed will provide solutions to the growing problems of unemployment in Nigeria. Tourism is a wide sector, a multidisciplinary phenomenon that interfaces with many other sectors of development like Transport, Health, Environment, Legal, Insurance, Agriculture, Finance, Construction, etc. Tourism as an industry has proven over the years to be the largest employer of labor with the capacity to create 1/10 of global employment, the second-highest foreign exchange earner after oil and Gas, it contributed about 10.4% to global GDP in 2019. Tourism has become a major industry and key sector upon which the economy of the developed nations of the world is built. We can achieve this for Nigeria, especially the South West with the resources at our disposal.
The Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) was established with the basic mandate to develop and administer qualifications; approve and monitor training centers and learning providers; provide continuous Professional Development for Private Sector and public service personnel from entry to the professional level; award certificates and membership for every category of staff at different levels of skills, autonomy, and responsibilities for the industry but we shall be taking this mandate a step further to integrate all the nuances of tourism promotions and development.
Back to why I am here. I’m here because my humble self, Ayodele Michael Olumoko believes deeply in the power of tourism education, training, and skills development as well as in the power and goodness of this remarkable Institute. I have stayed and practiced long enough in the industry to recognize the development and economic gaps that sparse professional competence, lack of recognized standards of entry-level and management training appropriate to the needs of the tourism, hotel, and travel industries have created between where we should be and where we are present.
The basic truth is that the opportunities and experiences the Institute is bringing to bear are not only beginning to change the performance and delivery profile of the industry but has earned her the Award of the ISO 9001 Certification from the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) as well as acknowledgment as the premier sector national accredited awarding and certification body in Nigeria for Tourism and Hospitality with the Institute’s president also holding the office of the National Sector Skills Council for Tourism in Nigeria thus facilitating the opening doors for Tourism and Hospitality professionalism and Skills development as well as standards that many never knew existed.
This is why I consider my investiture today as a great call to duty and a unique opportunity to serve. I honestly care most about the Institute’s concern to make a difference in the human capacity and professional profile of this industry and I will spare no efforts in this stride as I believe in the power of this institute to make the industry a better place for members, the industry, the economy, and indeed the South West region.
We live in rowdy times. In an era of deep societal divisions and skepticism, diminished civility, an era where there is too much suffering and stagnation; an era where the pursuit of quick gains has overtaken the love for knowledge, education, training, and cultural values yet we must have a vision for moving forward and building competence and appropriate human capital. Vision for moving forward, in order to be compelling and workable, must be a shared vision and that is exactly what it is going to be and to happen during my tenure.
It is in the above regard that I am sure you all are curious to know what exactly I hope to do during my time here. But it would be trivial and rude to spell out priorities in detail without first resuming into the office and without speaking with members of the industry, the leadership of the states that make up the southwest, and friends as well as getting a sense of your aspirations. I do not lack ideas or opinions, for better of the sector and the industry. What I can say is that I will work with all of you, the industry and the state to make this Institute in the South West the very best it can be and to live out its core values and mandate as well help states and practitioners in the region to boost their tourism performance. This will be my goal beyond any doubt and this for me means confronting and understanding this Institute’s past. It means appreciating that the success of this Institute will be intertwined with the performance of the Tourism and Hospitality industry. It also means that we understand and learn from our past and always keep our eyes on the future, recognizing that it is ours to shape.
I am excited to be the pioneer southwest vice president of the institute, though I recognize and appreciate that the challenge and task ahead are enormous. I am fully committed to making the institute’s presence to be felt in each of the states that make up the region through creative and meaningful industry and life-impacting programs and activities, and meaningful collaborations.
Let me end by making one promise that I know I can keep. This is that, throughout my tenor, I will follow the mandate of the institute but I promise that I will carefully listen and will look forward to hearing both your concerns and your aspirations for the Institute in the South West and indeed Nigeria, he concluded.
Zonal Technical Adviser ITPN, Charles Ukomadu, the Chief Executive Officer of Crownworth Consulting, a leading company in Tourism and Destination Management, Capacity Building, and Competency Development. He is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the company through the application of industry-leading best practices and the development of tools and process that propels performance culture. He is a visiting faculty member of the Umuahia based South East Entrepreneurship Development Center (SEEDC).
Know More About Otunba Ayodele Micheal Olumoko: He is the Founder and MD/CEO of INFOGEM LIMITED, a business and marketing communications outfit with a head office in Lagos State and a regional office in Osogbo, Osun State.
Otunba Ayo Olumoko is also the Chairman of McLeads Consulting and Yempat Rosy & Associate. He was a Council member of the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) from 2015 to July 2021, Nigeria’s culture, tourism, travel, and hospitality professional body where he is a past Chairman for the Lagos Chapter, the 2nd National Deputy President, and the Immediate Past Vice President (South-West). He is currently the South-West Vice
President of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN).
Otunba Ayo Olumoko is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (F.loD), Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administrators (F.ICA) and a Fellow of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (FITPN). He is a member of the international service organization, the Rotary Club. Where he served as the District Rotaract Representative for all Rotaractors in Lagos and Ogun States and was adjudged the best in Rotaract worldwide in 1991.
He is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Ikeja and a Past Assistant Governor, Past Zonal Coordinator, and currently Chairman, of the Awards and Recognition Committee for all 130 Rotary Clubs administration in Rotary District 9110, Nigeria.
Otunba Ayo Olumoko has travelled far and wide. He is a Culture promoter, strategist, leader, motivator, and role model to the younger generation in culture, tourism, travel, and the creative industry. Otunba Michael Ayodele Olumoko is a Christian by faith and a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). He is married with children.
Diaspora Housing: NiDCOM, FMBN Set To Launch Scheme
DIASPORA HOUSING: NiDCOM, FMBN SET TO LAUNCH SCHEME
Olushola Okunlade Writes
A comprehensive Diaspora Housing Mortgage Scheme is set to be inaugurated.
Hon (Dr) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), stated this when she visited the Management and Staff of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in Abuja.
This is coming after both agencies have concluded the final stages of the Diaspora Housing Mortgage Policy.
Dr. Dabiri-Erewa, maintained that Nigeria, being the highest diaspora-remitting country in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 19 billion dollars in 2021, according to the World Bank, assisted their own houses of their own, is the least incentive for Nigerians abroad who tirelessly
contribute to Nigeria’s development.
In addition, the NiDCOM Boss disclosed that this move will encourage the Nigerian Diaspora to do more for the country, there by creating a win-win situation.
Dr. Dabiri-Erewa added further that the Scheme is aimed at enabling Nigerians in Diaspora have mortgage accounts, participate in the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme, access loans up to N50 million, and own homes through certified developers all from the comforts of their locations.
Giving further insights, the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, explained that the package is available to any Nigerian (above 18) living in the Diaspora, with evidence of the regular flow of income, with contributions made over a minimum period of one year before being eligible to access the mortgage loan.
Also, after contributing for the applicable minimum period, applicants will apply for the mortgage loan through an accredited Primary Mortgage Bank.
Following this, applicants will register with the NHF and contribute $150 (for beneficiaries earning $3,000 and below monthly), or $200 (for beneficiaries earning $3,001 and above, monthly), respectively for a minimum period of a year.
Other features of the package include a 30% down payment, a single-digit interest rate of nine percent, and a payback period of up to 10 years.
Meanwhile, she seized the opportunity to congratulate the new FMBN Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr. Madu Hamman, and urged him to sustain the impressive achievements of his predecessors.
Mr. Madu Hamman agreed that work has been completed to make the Scheme, a reality.
However, he said that the launching of the Scheme would have occurred earlier in the year, attributing the change of leadership at the FMBN, as a factor.
Mr. Hamman gave assurances that the inauguration of the FMBN Diaspora Housing Mortgage Scheme will be actualized in earnest to provide a transparent, seamless platform for Nigerians in Diaspora to invest and own homes in Nigeria.
The NiDCOM/FMBN Committee is given till the end of May to finalise preparatory work for the launch of the Scheme proposed for London.
Tourism In A Hyperconnected World: The Challenges And Opportunities For Nigerian Tourism Industry – Alonge
BusinessEcho Magazine Report
The Guest Speaker of the ceremony, Victor Adekunle Alonge delivered the paper at the Investiture ceremony of the Vice President of the South West for Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), Otunba Ayodele Micheal Olumoko on Thursday 7th April 2022 at the Banquet Hall, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Victor Adekunle Alonge spoke on the following:-
Introduction: The contemporary world is shaped by the rising interdependence among national economies, reflecting the migration towards global markets and global production through trans-national and cross-border trade and investments. As the world becomes more globalized, there is the evolving connectedness of the world. This is reflected in the expanded flows of information, technology, capital, goods, services and people (significantly through tourism). Although globalization is considered as the process where national and international economies, societies and cultures integrate through global network of trade, communication and transportation (International Monetary Fund, 2000), it no doubt has profound impact on the incorporation of a single world order through the intensification of global social relations. Globalization has indeed made the world to become a global village with profound effect on movement of people for various activities, including tourism.
As the world continues to integrate more than ever before, people and organizations are connecting more and in different ways than they ever have in the past. This interconnectedness promotes international trade agreements, global business activity, and telecommunication networks among others. The activities often require travel and visitation, making globalization a precursor of tourism. Besides, tourism has emerged as an essential component of societal life, most especially in the developed world as it is increasingly relied upon to meet the recreational and leisure needs of people. Tourism, is a strong pillar of sustainable
development for both developed and emerging economies. Little wonder that tourism is a vital component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – Goal 8, reflecting its relevance in global reckoning.
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) of the United Nations in 2017 reported that tourism facilitated 1.24 billion international arrivals generating US$7.2 trillion in revenue in 2016. Travel and tourism play a vital role in the creation of jobs, both direct, indirect and aggregated impacts. WTO estimated that Tourism accounted for about 10.6% of all jobs, accounting for US$ 9.2 trillion, representing approximately 10.4% of global GDP in 2019. International visitor spending amounted to 6.8% of total exports and 27.4% of global services exports, contributing US$ 1.7 trillion in 2019. As a significant contributor to economic growth, the tourism industry transcends attractive destination and plays a critical role in boosting the vitality of the economy of any country. Tourism development is now increasingly being used as an important tool in promoting economic growth, poverty alleviation, and in food security.
The pace of technological change affecting the world today is unprecedented, with exponential and tremendous advances in computer applications. In particular, the rise in the discovery and application of digital innovative technologies have revolutionize the human environment and brought with it new vistas of opportunities. These technological advances have catalyzed development in every
single facet of people’s daily life. Digital technologies such as internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), etc. continue to disrupt the traditional ways of doing things by providing new, faster, and effective ways of undertaking activities in all spheres of human endeavor.
The world has thus become hyperconnected, with the proliferation of networks of people, devices, and other entities, enabling the continuous access to other people, machines, and organizations, regardless of time or location. Information is now easily accessible and abundant, search costs are low, goods and services from across geographic boundaries are easier to reach than ever, and companies offering services may no longer be the primary source of information.
The impact of hyperconnectivity resonates in various sectors of the global economy, and most especially in the tourism industry, being an information dependent industry, where large volumes of information are generated and processed. For instance, in embarking on a trip, scores of data and information are often generated and exchanged – itineraries, schedules, payment information, destination, products and passenger information. These activities are often undertaken by the tourism professionals. The impact of digital technologies on this process has been radical and profound, impacting every process, from the search of the destination, customer service, flight booking, accommodation, the experience during the trip and its completion.
It is against this backdrop that this paper intends to examine the practice of tourism in a hyperconnected world.
Understanding Tourism: The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defined Tourism as a stay of at least one night, but less than a year, away from one’s ‘normal environment’, to include business, conference, and other types of non-leisure travel. The International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (IASET) considers tourism as the sum of the phenomenon and relationship arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, in as much as they do not result in permanent residence.
Tourism thus entails any activity that voluntarily or temporarily takes a person from his usual place of residence, in order to satisfy a need of pleasure, excitement, experience and relaxation. In today’s rapidly changing world, tourism is no longer leisure but an activity that has captured the attention of economists as a major source of foreign exchange for developing and developed countries. This has continue to compel several countries to develop both tourist sites, standardize operations and improve infrastructures such as electricity, airports, rail, roads, seaport, etc. that support tourism.
Since the dawn of the 21st century, the twin forces of globalization and ICT revolution have changed the face of tourism globally. Tourism is no longer a luxury concept, but a living style universally, with the potential to attract trade and generate capital flows into destinations.
Types of Tourism: Some of the principal categories of tourism include the following:
Leisure Tourism: This includes holiday involving relaxation, sleep, reading, walk on the beach, taking a scenic drive or sporting activities, shopping etc.
Business Tourism: Involves travel for the purpose of business. It includes trading for goods to be resold on a wholesale basis; conduct of business transactions e.g. visiting a client, contract negotiations; and attendance of conferences, exhibition or event associated with participant’s business.
Religious Tourism: This is associated with religious and faith activities. Examples include the holy pilgrimages to the Holy Land of Mecca and Medinah in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem in Israel as well as the annual visitations by the adherents of Hinduism and Buddhism to Temples in India.
Ecological Tourism: The rich diversity in the flora and fauna with a blessing of the beautiful natural attractions has evolved as a form of tourism. The forests cover, wildlife sanctuaries, the mountain ranges, the beautiful beaches and coastline are examples of this and a feast for all lovers of nature.
Sports Tourism: This refers to international travel either for viewing or participating in a sporting event. International sporting events like the Olympics, FIFA World Cup (soccer), UEFA Champions League, CAF Nations Cup, tennis, golf and Formula 1 Grand Prix are included in this category.
Medical Tourism: A form of tourism where countries with significant expertise in medical knowledge are visited for the treatment of diseases and to enjoy cutting-edge medical facilities. India is one of such countries and about US$10 billion was attracted to the country through medical tourism between 2016 and 2021.
Wildlife Tourism: This involves observation of wild (non-domestic) animals in their natural environment or in captivity. It incorporates activities such as photography, viewing and feeding of animals. This form of tourism offer tourists customized tour packages and safaris and is closely associated with eco-tourism and sustainable-tourism. The East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania rely heavily on wildlife tourism for the generation of significant revenue.
Tourism in a Globalized World: Travel and tourism are important economic activities in most countries of the world. Tourism is one of the leading sources of revenue generation for both developed and developing countries. The tourism industry generated US$ 9.2 trillion or 10.4% of global GDP in 2019 (UNWTO, 2019). Thus, tourism has become a strong pillar for sustainable development for both developed and emerging economies. It impacts on revenue growth, job opportunities, gross income, and production. The impacts of tourism are mostly felt in industries such as hotels, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, and shopping. The travel and tourism industry is believed to be the world’s largest and most diverse industry.
Unlike oil that is non-renewable, and which at best employs less than 2% of the population, tourism is an inclusive, sustainable, labour-intensive industry, engaging both skilled and unskilled labour. Environmentally, tourism, when properly developed and managed, can serve as a mechanism for protecting the ecosystem: the natural environments, preserving historical, archaeological and religious monuments and stimulating the practice of local cultures, folklore, traditions, arts and crafts, and food as well as the cultural heritage of the people.
The Nigerian Tourism Industry: In recent times, tourism development has been on the front burner of national discourse in Nigeria. This stems from the realization of its potential in job creation and generation of the badly needed revenue, most especially in foreign earnings.
As with most African countries that experienced European colonization, Nigerian tourism industry has a chequered history. Prior to British colonialism, there were various objects of interests which often attract visitors to many cities and villages in the country. Available evidence suggests that apart from attractions and visitations to traditional and cultural festivals across the length and breadth of the country, tourists were also attracted by the various natural and man-made objects in these communities. As such, archaeological objects of historical significance were usually on display, thereby serving as centre of attraction to tourist.
The advent of colonialism and the involvement of Europeans in the country brought about archaeological expeditions and excavations, leading to the exhumation and transfer of objects of historical significance to cultures and civilizations in several cities across the country. It is on record that several objects made in Benin-City and Ife were ferried by the British and now in display at the British Museum in London.
Serious attempts to develop tourism to harness its opportunities in the economic development of the country dates back to Nigeria’s independence in 1960. Organized tourism in Nigeria is, however, traceable to 1962 with the establishment of Nigeria Tourist Association by a group of tourism practitioners in the country, while formal recognition of Tourism by government as a potential economic activity was not until 1976 with the establishment of Nigeria Tourism Board (NTB).
The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) was later established by Decree No. 81 of 1992 to replace NTB and provide policy and institutional frameworks for the regulation and supervision of the tourism sector in the country. To strengthen and revitalize the tourism industry, the government in conjunction with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2006 produced a National Tourism Development Master Plan. The master plan focused on the institutional and capacity strengthening support to the tourism sector. Since then tourism activities has continue to gather momentum in Nigeria. Besides, the establishment of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) has further galvanized tourism awareness and practice in the country. The ITPN is a higher, vocational and tertiary level professional organization, established to provide the tourism industry with professionals that are equipped with the necessary skills-set, knowledge and expertise required to offer quality service to clients. Available evidence points to the fact that since its establishment, the ITPN has made giant strides in promoting tourism practice in Nigeria.
Contributions of Tourism to Nigeria’s Economic Development: The tourism industry in Nigeria contributes immensely to national economic growth and development. As a non-oil and non-agricultural activity, tourism plays a substantial role in expanding and diversifying Nigeria’s economy, and providing income-earning opportunities for a large number of people. Through its contribution to GDP, export earnings, and government tax revenues, the tourism industry positively impacts the macro-economic indicators of the country.
Available data obtained from Tourism Economics (2021) revealed that total overnight visitation to Nigeria grew by 80% from 2010 to 2019. International overnight stays rose more than 90% across the decade, while domestic visits increased 80%. In 2019, domestic and international visitor spending directly contributed US$2.6 billion to Nigerian GDP and supported a US$7.9 billion total impact including indirect and induced impacts. The Nigerian travel and tourism industry contributes 4% of total GDP in 2019, and the economic activity supported nearly 3.3 million jobs (Tourism Economics, 2021).
But in recent times the global tourism industry has suffered more than any other sector due to COVID-19 and the attendant lockdowns, resulting in global economic recession. The Nigerian tourism sector was not insulated from this challenge as total visitor spend impact was estimated to have declined by nearly US$3 billion in 2020, representing nearly one-third reduction from 2019 levels (Tourism Economics, 2021). The reduction in visitor spending in 2020 jeopardized nearly 1 million jobs within the travel and tourism sector and related industries (WTTC, 2021). The growing insecurity across the country has also worsened this problem as it de-markets the country, thereby discouraging international travels.
Hyperconnectivity and Hyper-Connected World: Hyperconnectivity is the driver of the hyper-connected world. As advances in digital technology progresses, a hyper-connected society is emerging in which various connections with people and people, things and people, things and things are amplified. Hyperconnectivity refers to a state of unified communications in which the traffic handling capacity of a network exceeded its demand and all devices connected to a network are inter-connected. It is a set of social expectations and behavioural norms in which being available for communication anytime and anywhere is essential to social relationships.
The use of internet enabled smart devices; most especially smartphones is the key driver of the hyper-connected world. Nigeria is currently gravitating towards a hyper-connected society. As the country with the largest economy and highest population in Africa, Nigeria’s propensity for growth is predicated on its large young population and investment in technology, notably smartphone technology. Based on statistics released by DataReportal (2022), there were 109.2 million internet users in Nigeria as at January 2022 while the internet penetration is estimated at 51.0 percent of the total population at the beginning of 2022. This trend is largely anchored on the use of internet enabled mobile devices. The number of smartphone users in the country currently stands at between 25 and 40 million, with a projection to 80 million by 2026. Being a disruptive technology that displaces the traditional way of doing things, most especially face to face interactions, the effect of a hyperconnected society is currently being felt across all sectors of human endeavors and is revolutionizing our world with serious consequences for our ways of doing things.
Hyperconnectivity and the Tourism Industry: We are in an era of unprecedented global integration enabled by the twin forces of globalization and (rapidly increasing advances in) technology. Technology and innovations have revolutionized and percolated all the sectors and are consistently shaping our perception of the world, how we communicate, and share information. These trends have redefined the tourism sector and how it functions. At the heart of our now hyper-connected, hyper-informed world is a digital-led revolution in markets, as well as in the demand for skills and the characteristics of tourism jobs. Recent years have seen the emergence of digital breakthroughs, including new platform tourism services (the so-called sharing or collaborative economy), big data and geo-localization. In many ways, hyperconnectivity has made today’s traveller believe in the possibility of a borderless world.
In the tourism industry, hyperconnectivity will continue to usher in greater opportunities for customization and personalization of the service experience. It also has the potential for the restructuring of operational processes for greater efficiency and speed. For owners, operators and customers, it will alter expectations for costs of goods and services, the speed and agility at which services are expected to be delivered, the value added from the service encounter, the innovative nature of the services and the overall customer services provided. Besides, tourism in a hyperconnected world will be associated with enhanced customer experience through gained customer insight, improved asset and facility management, innovative product offerings, enhanced safety and security, all of which will increase revenue and decrease costs through streamlined processes and more accurate, timely data.
Concluding Remarks: I have discussed the contributions of the tourism industry to global and the Nigerian economies and analyzed its role in national economic growth and development. I equally situated the potential for disruptive digital technologies and internet enabled devices, particularly in influencing travellers’ behaviour and its effect on the tourism industry. Since technology now dictates the success or failure of many activities of human endeavors, its potential in influencing the tourism industry and the livelihoods of tourism practitioners is hugely significant. I also attempted an examination of tourism in a hyper-connected world. Tourism practitioners clearly need to keep abreast of changes in technology in the delivery of their professional services to remain competitive and relevant. It is imperative for the service processes to be integrated with technology as the world continues to be more hyperconnected. This would enable operational efficiency and create a competitive advantage for success.
In Nigeria, there is the need for the tourism industry and its practitioners to champion the review and updating of outdated legislations and regulation that support employment, innovation, entrepreneurship and new business models. More so, it is vital to create awareness and adoption of new technologies and technological trends, as there is evidently low adoption of these within the sector currently. More than ever before, there is the urgent need to improve investment in these technologies. Tourism practitioners should be encouraged to commit funds for the procurement of digital technologies for capacity building through trainings. The ITPN is no doubt well positioned to take a lead in this regard. The Institute has a huge responsibility in promoting the awareness and actual practice of a modern tourism profession that delivers the benefits of hyperconnectivity in a hyper-connected world to tourists in Nigeria. I Thank you for listening to me.
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