A Tourism policy was produced in 1990 with the basic objective of making Nigeria the ultimate tourism destination in Africa.
The main thrust of government policy on tourism, is to generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism based rural enterprises, generate employment and accelerate rural urban integration and cultural exchange.
Due to the importance the Nigerian government attaches to the tourism industry, the following strategies were adopted:
Government would ensure that the provision of basic infrastructural facilities, namely, good roads, water, electricity, communications and hotels, to canters of attraction, in order to accelerate their development for the purpose of exploiting fully their touristic value. In furtherance of this goal, the appropriate government agency responsible for tourism promotion and development, shall establish and maintain close liaison with other government agencies responsible for the provision of the infrastructure.
Concession of Land
State governments will provide land without any hindrance for tourism development at concessional rates and conditions favorable to investment and the realization of investment thereon. This will necessarily include the abolition of annual ground rent within the period of construction and development of tourism. For orderly development of tourism and tourism product, it is mandatory for all state governments to demarcate potential Tourism Zones and their products from other usage, to avoid undue pollution. 100% equity ownership of companies in Nigeria and repatriation of profits and dividends etc.
Fiscal and Other Incentives
In order to boost the level of private sector investment in tourism, it is treated by government as a preferred sector, like agriculture. Government has also introduced such incentives as, tax holidays, tax rebate and soft loans, with long period of grace to potential investors in tourism.
Patrol and Regulation of the Industry
The government has enacted laws and regulations, which govern the activities of the categories of people involved in the industry, like hoteliers, travel agents, tour-operators, car hire services. This is to ensure that their conduct, is not detrimental to objectives of the industry and the security of the nation, as well as tourists.
To ensure the growth and development of tourism to international standards, government has put in place these following:
Embarked on a massive and aggressive publicity campaign in the country, on the potentials and significance of tourism. Available publicity organs of the government have been utilized.
Publicized and marketed the nation’s tourism potentials abroad, through Nigeria’s diplomatic missions and the foreign media, international travel fairs and mails.
Simplified issuance of visas/entry permit to intending visitors, such that they can get it immediately on application. Tourists arriving our ports with return tickets, are also issued with visas on the spot.
Security agencies, including customs and immigration have been oriented to discharge their duties promptly to eliminate inconveniences by visitors at entry points.
Institutional Arrangement of Tourism
The government has put in place the following institutional frame-work.
Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism
The Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism has assumed full responsibility for policy initiation and monitoring, and maintains direct links with state governments on all tourism matters. However, the tourism industry is still fully dominated by states and local governments, where tourist attractions are situated.
State ministries implement policies and directories from the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, initiate projects and control land allocation and development of tourism in their respective areas. The states also regulate the operations of hotels and catering institutions in line with the federal government policy.
Local Government Tourism Board
These local organs were established to locate and identify potential tourist attractions in their areas. They serve as information centers and provide tourist guides. They also preserve and maintain monuments, as well as museums in their areas of jurisdiction.
Summary of Investment Opportunities in Nigeria
Investment opportunities exist within the following sub-sectors of the tourism industry:
Beach and Coastal Resort development (Nigeria has over 700km of unpolluted sandy beaches). Conservation and Protection of 8 national parks and over 10 game reserves. Development of hotels and standard restaurants Transportation: water recreation, package tour services, air and rail services. Development of caves, tunnels, waterfalls and spring waters. Youth hostels, camps and centers Lake and River sport fishing. Scenic and Mountain Holiday resorts Theme/Amusement parks Conference/Congress Services Conservation and protection of endangered wildlife especially drill monkey, manatee, white throated monkey and pigmy hippo. Heritage, cultural and archaeological sites.