How Strategic Investments And Partnerships Can Revitalize The Tourism Industry In Nigeria

A projected 12 percent compound annual increase from 2019 to 2023 was expected in Nigeria which would have made the country to be the fastest growing hospitality market but in early 2020, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry so bad.

Globally, the tourism industry contributes about 10 percent to the global GDP and this was expected to rise in four years with a significant upward movement in Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

In Nigeria, travel and tourism contributed 5.1 percent to the GDP in 2019 and in 2020, this decreased as a result of the pandemic.

In 2020, there was ban on international and even local travel when the pandemic broke out and everything about traveling was put on hold but in Nigeria and also around the world. With this, hotels, air transportation and tourists’ attractions were some of the industries that were badly affected.

What Happened To The Travel And Tourism Industry?

The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that 1 and 10 workers in the world work in the hospitality industry. This means that 1 to 10 workers lost their jobs as a result of the industry being grounded because of the outbreak of the pandemic.

From March 2020 to around March 2021, many countries announced a ban on international travel and closure of restaurants and hotels and also limiting gatherings. All these measures were taken to help reduce the spread of the virus and this affected employment in the travel and hospitality sector.

The Regional Director of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Andrew Brown revealed that “$4.5tn was lost by the tourism and hospitality sectors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and over 770,000 jobs were lost in the sector in Nigeria alone.”

This showed that 1 to 10 Nigerians lost their job in the tourism industry which also affected those whose goods and services are either directly or indirectly connected to it. For instance, the production of in-flight magazines in Nigeria took a hit when the tourism industry suffered due to the restriction of flight as a result of the pandemic. Even as magazine production would be appropriately considered a media and communication sector, it targeted audience in the travel industry and so a lot of people working with flight magazine companies lost their jobs during the pandemic period.

Also, the companies that provide cleaning services, advertising and entertainment for travel and tourism companies also had to lay off workers, reduce their pay or keep them officially employed while not paying them during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So in a nutshell, during this pandemic period and with the ban on international and local travels and tourisms, any company that was dependent on travel and tourism was also affected like the two examples we mentioned.

What To Expect In The Future

The world is presently trying to move pass the pandemic and adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic and also the travel and tourism industry is making a slow but steady return.

A travel editor and founder of Globetrender, Jenny Southan carried out a research and projected that “as people think more carefully about the way they travel, they will seek out hotels and travel companies that are doing everything they can to minimize their impact on the planet. We can also expect accreditation to gain prominence as consumers look for reassurance from legitimate “eco-tourism” certifications (Visitors) will want to book trips that leave them feeling better than before when they return home. Wellness tourism will be increasingly popular.”

The world is hopeful that the hospitality industry will make a remarkable return and so only the prepared can make a quick return and to do so they would require understanding the uniquely changing needs of customers and clients.

Nigeria has to do its best to be able to compete in the global market so as to take advantage of the small market that is just making a return.

According to Deloitte “in an environment of dramatically lower revenues, high fixed costs, less than optimal asset returns and the need to conserve capital, hospitality organizations will need to determine which areas to prioritize and invest in. they will need to find the right balance between investment and conservation, one that achieves the highest ROI in the near to medium term. Some of these decisions will endure; others may not. But the decisions made in the months to come will have a lasting impact on the operating models of the hospitality sector for years to come.”

The Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel which is a hospitality brand and part of Nigeria’s leading investment holding company, Honeywell Group Limited (HGL) has shown a high level of preparedness by fostering an alliance with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to provide a basis for the recovery of the hospitality industry in Nigeria.

This partnership is formed on mutual respect nurtured by the positive track record of Honeywell group over the years. The group has had an impressive performance before the pandemic coupled with a sustained positive service delivery during the pandemic shows that it has contributed towards the growth of Nigeria’s economy.

The country needs more of these positive partnerships in the hospitality sector to help in economic growth of the country.

The group further buttressed that “Our relationship with the BOI has been a beneficial relationship and the Bank of Industry has proven to be a valuable business partner. The bank has assisted us in establishing our brand as a foremost hospitality business.”

With this kind of support and assistance, the projected growth of the country’s tourism industry which dropped as a result of the pandemic will come alive and reach the expected height in coming days.