Director-General Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, has described tourism as the greatest employer. She said the corporation under her would ensure practical development and promotion of domestic tourism, which will propel job creation, develop the nation’s economy and raise social awareness on cultural preservation and environmental protection.
Mbanefo spoke at this year’s World Tourism Day, with the theme, 1 Billion Tourists, 1 Billion Opportunities, held in Enugu State which underscored the role of tourism sector as a valuable and sustainable source of livelihood for millions of people.
“Nigeria has a better advantage over so many other countries to benefit from tourism. We have the advantage of population. Tourism contributes 10% to the global GDP but as at now, Nigerian is not fully benefiting from tourism like other countries. For instance, 4,333,000 tourism visited Nigeria in 2013, which contributed about 4 per cent to our GDP, while tourism contributes 17.7 per cent to the GDP of Gambia; 13 per cent to Egypt; 12 per cent to Kenya; 11.9 per cent to Mexico; 9 per cent to South Africa, and 6 per cent to Cuba.
“We need to know that Nigeria should focus more on tourism as the best alternative to oil, with domestic tourism as the catalyst. I need to emphasise that Nigeria has the best of the ingredient of tourism. We have fascinating tourist sites, enviable cultural festivals, good weather, good and hospitable people. Have you ever wondered why most diplomats, after serving their terms chose to stay back in Nigeria? It is because of the warmth and friendliness of our people, environment and potentials,” she said.
Mbanefo, who emphasised that the potential of tourism in Nigeria is N4billion prayed that government should take privatisation to the next level, which according to her will facilitate further facilitate an enabling environment for tourism to thrive in Nigeria.
The NTDC boss lauded the Enugu State government for making tourism alive in the state, describing the state as a hub of eco-tourism.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs Nkechi Ejele, described tourism as the way forward for Nigeria. She noted that the Ministry is, on a daily basis, intensifying efforts at ensuring the money spinning sector is well developed and promoted in Nigeria, to ensure Nigerians, among the people of other countries, maximally benefit from the potentials of tourism.
The Group Managing Director, Viko Nigeria Group of Companies Limited, Mr Lucky Kanu, expressed the readiness of his company to further support NTDC in promoting domestic tourism, thereby creating more jobs and wealth in Nigeria.
“Our partnership with NTDC could be best described as demonstration of a successful practice of public private partnership in Nigeria, as the partnership has yielded opening of information desks in about six states in Nigeria, while we are working on a new project that will create over 500,000 jobs for the youth in every state of Nigeria,” Kanu said.
Sunday marked World Tourism Day, and the U.N.’s theme this year was “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities.” According to the U.N. World Tourism Organization,tourism contributes 10% of global GDP and 6% of the world’s total exports. Many factors come into play when explaining tourist flows to a particular country, but the ease of getting a tourist visa is surely a big one. The diverging paths of Zambia and South Africa demonstrate this clearly.
Zambia’s Tourism Minister Jean Kapata said on Sunday that tourism is among the alternative sectors that can save Zambia’s economy in light of the current decline in copper prices. Zambia’s annual increase in arrivals has been over 12% for several years (apart from a slowdown to 3.5% in 2014). In the case of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) tourism, arrivals have grown 400% annually for the past two years. The country predicts that its steady growth in tourist arrivals will create 300,000 jobs by next year.
“Zambia has instituted substantial visa reforms to make it easier for tourists to come to our destination. These include the implementation of the KaZa Univisa system between Zambia and Zimbabwe, similar to the EU Schengen visa for all countries who are on our ‘visa on arrival’ list for both countries which are 41 in total. This has already increased arrivals to the two countries,”Kapata stated in mid-September. She highlighted that more countries are being added to the list, and noted, “Before the end of this year, Zambia will also launch the electronic visa processing system. This is expected to give tourist arrivals a further boost.”
On the other hand, South Africa has seen a decline in tourists over the past year after enacting tough visa regulations aimed at stemming illegal immigration. The measures require that prospective travelers visit a South African consulate to capture biometric data before departure, and require that children entering the country must be accompanied by an adult in possession of a birth certificate that names both parents.
According to the South African Reserve Bank, preliminary estimates suggest that travel receipts declined by 9% in the second quarter of 2015. And a study done on behalf of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa estimated that in 2015 the regulations would result in a total net loss to South Africa’s GDP of around $295 million.
However, South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba criticized the local tourism sector for not doing enough to sell South Africa as a destination for visitors, adding that other factors, including a constrained global economy, had also contributed to the decline of tourism numbers. “That the number of travelers dropped because of the new visa regulations is always an opinion. And the Reserve Bank is entitled to its opinion and also entitled to be wrong,” he said.
Still, the government is now rethinking the visa regulations to mitigate further losses. Constructive proposals to mitigate the potential unintended consequences of the new regulations were “at an advanced stage,” Gigaba noted. “The department is in the process of developing an e-permit system with an intention to roll it out in all South African missions abroad and also extend the visa facilitation services centers in countries where we receive mostly skilled persons for our economy,”stated the Home Minister’s parliamentary reply, published last week.
Tourism can bring in a lot of revenue and create local jobs, but it needs to be enabled by visa rules that reduce hassle. Otherwise travelers will just go elsewhere.
Speaking at the launch of Tourism Month in Limpopo on 16 August, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said R100 million had been invested in growing the tourism sector in the country.
“With this investment we are committed to ensuring that the wonders we boast of, and the unique heritage we have been endowed with, are shared by more and more South Africans,” he said.
Everyone can be an ambassador
Hanekom said it was important that all South Africans became ambassadors of their own country. They could start by travelling within the country to discover, learn, and fall in love with all its beauty and diversity.
“As more of our people discover more about our country, they will feel a sense of pride and belonging.
“There is nothing like direct contact and interaction between people to break through artificial social barriers and allow us to share the things we all have in common,” he said.
Employment and growth
In 2014, tourism accounted for close to 10% of all employed people in South Africa.
Domestic trips increased by 11% in the year to reach 28 million, and the revenue generated by domestic tourism alone in 2014 was R26.8-billion.
It’s all about access
Hanekom said for the country to reach its target of 18 million domestic tourists by 2020 – as set out in the National Tourism Sector Strategy – it would have to work harder to make tourism more affordable and more accessible to all South Africans.
“We are therefore very keen to work with the trade to make travel a reality for millions of South Africans,” he said.
“All members of the trade are encouraged to upload their value-for-money deals on to the Sho’t Left website and to provide a variety of packages and options to suit all budgets.”
World Tourism Day
This year, World Tourism Day falls on 27 September, and the theme is “A billion tourists, a billion opportunities”.
It provides a platform to examine how communities around the world work to grow tourism through unearthing new opportunities. World Tourism Day in South Africa will be celebrated in Limpopo.
The province is home to world-class travel attractions such as the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site and the Kruger National Park.
TANZANIA (eTN) – Looking forward to identifying strategies and best practice in cultivating sustainable, peaceful, and welcoming communities through tourism, culture, and sports, tourism stakeholders will be meeting in South Africa next month to deliberate on the potential roles of tourism, culture, and sports.
Several African tourism experts and policymakers have been invited to the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) Symposium in South Africa to share positive experiences from their respective countries and communities on the potential roles of tourism in poverty eradication, conflict resolution, and creation of sustainable development through tourism.
Burundi, a small African nation, rich with diversified cultures, stands as a modal example of countries in Africa looking to develop cultural tourism as a lifeline for community development and a catalyst for poverty eradication.
Lacking abundant wildlife resources as compared to other member states of the East African Community (EAC), Burundi is boastful of rich and diversified cultures, making it the leading cultural destination nation in Eastern and Central Africa.
The government of Burundi has been committed to developing the tourism sector known as a pillar of a socio economic growth and a key player in peace consolidation, according to National Tourism Office of Burundi.
A National Strategy for a Sustainable Development of Tourism resulting from a plan of activities has been in place for three years from 2013 to 2016 and is currently being implemented.
In collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the government of Burundi had committed to develop the Cultural Tourism Program, taking an advantage of the rich cultural diversity in the country.
The program had succeeded to provide local people in various rural areas the opportunity to build sustainable livelihoods from developing and managing cultural tourism enterprises in their communities.
The Cultural Tourism Program is also aimed at giving a bright future for creating understanding and friendships between tourists and local people, offering tourists from across the world the possibility to experience Burundi’s rich and diversified cultural heritage, also creating harmony among local communities through benefit sharing from tourist gains.
The Cultural Tourism Program also allocates a part of the tourist income to community development purposes in the village through improvement and development of primary schools, health centers, a clean water supply, and other social services.
Tourists and tour operators in Burundi had also made voluntary contributions to these development projects, the National Tourism Office of Burundi says.
Burundi has been celebrating World Tourism Day held on September 27 of every year, aiming at strengthening tourism development as an engine for economic growth, highlighting the community dimension as one of the key pillars of sustainable development.
Last year (2014), World Tourism Day was dedicated to community development and was celebrated in Burundi through sensitization of people on the importance of the tourism sector in the country’s development.
With the complementary to the on-going ST-EP Project in Burundi, the UNWTO volunteer on the ground collaborated with the Burundi Ministry of Tourism and organized a two-day “Open Doors” event at the National Tourism Office in Bujumbura from September 26-27, 2014.
The two-day event gathered some 300 visitors who enjoyed traditional performances while mingling with more than 35 exhibition booths, representing local artisans, public tourism institutions, tourism training institutes, tour operators, and the other tourism enterprises.
The event also provided the opportunity for the formal presentation of training certificates to a group of waiters and receptionists who participated in the training carried out from June to August 2014 as part of the activities of the ST-EP project in Burundi.
The ST-EP project in Burundi also focuses on supporting tourism Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) to help generate additional local employment for women and youth in Bujumbura and at Lake Tanganyika resources.
Several workshops were held during World Tourism Day, aimed at sensitization of people on community and sustainable tourism development.
Attracting international experts in community development, community tourism, sports, culture, and peace, the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) Symposium will be held from February 16 to 20 in Johannesburg to honor the legacies of former South African majority President Nelson Mandela, former Prime minister of India Mahatma Ghandi, and the former US Civil Rights champion, Martin Luther King, Jr.
The symposium is as well, aimed at building bridges of tourism, friendship, and peace between South Africa, India, the United States, and other regions of the world.
Source: eTurbo News