INSECURITY & ECONOMIC SLUMP CONTINUE TO HURT NIGERIA’S HOSPITALITY SECTOR.
The security and economic challenges facing Nigeria especially in the previous year 2016, have had many foreign travelers shying away from the African giant. However, despite the threat posed by terrorism, the country still managed to generate NGN 88.2B (US$ 2.8 million) from International visitors. This is according to the recently launched Nigerian hospitality report by Jumia Travel Nigeria, which further shows that this figure is expected to fall by 7.3% in 2017, if the security challenges in the country persist.
Kushal Dutta, Managing Director of Jumia Travel Nigeria, states that as a result of the fall in dollar exchange rate which also remains a major hurdle besides insecurity, a lot of Nigerians preferred to travel within the country. “This is a good sign that we need to design more attractive holiday packages that will be exciting enough for Nigerians to want to spend money on tourism within the country,” he added. The report shows that domestic travel spending grew to NGN 2,688 B, a 4.9% increase in 2016 over 3.2% recorded in 2015.
Furthermore, Bruce Prins, a renowned hospitality consultant in Nigeria who was featured in the report, stated that the price war between many hotels undermined the hospitality industry’s perceived value. It also created a lot of degradation in so far as the quality on offer is concerned. Reduced services, and ill-maintained facilities contributed to the latter due to the price wars.
“In 2017, there will be more recreational facilities, and services will be required; better reservation systems that are 24 hour, and easy to action will be the deal-breaker. Ease or disease of air travel will affect everything; renovation and maintenance will make a hotel, and the lack thereof will break a hotel; and social media is, and will be even more so the most powerful marketing tool,” Prins added.
Over the last five years, Nigeria’s economy has been driven by growth in services – which include the tourism sector, agriculture, and telecommunications. Crude oil remains Nigeria’s major export accounting for almost 95% of the country’s total exports.
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CREDIT: JOSEPHINE WAWIRA.