Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tourism doing wonders for Nigeria

Tourism kicks up Nigeria’s GDP, job opportunities
…A major gain for the Transformation Agenda – Runsewe

Nigeria has witnessed a steady growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and jobs-creation efforts over the last four years, according to a report, titled; Travel and Tourism Economic Impact on Nigeria 2012, by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

In the said report, the WTTC has also forecast that this year (2012) alone, some 897,500 jobs; representing 1.4% of Nigeria’s total engaged workforce will be generated by the travel and tourism industry.

“Travel and Tourism generated 838,500 jobs directly in 2011 (1.4% of total employment), and this is forecast to grow by 7.0% in 2012 to 897,500 jobs (1.4 of total employment)”, states the WTTC report; which explains that the expected jobs “includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines as well as activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists and other passenger services (excluding commuter services)”.

The report also noted that travel and tourism is expected to attract capital investment of N252.5billion, and that this figure is projected to rise in 2012 by 2.3%. Over the next 10 years, the amount is expected to grow by 6.5% per annum to N483.4billion in 2022. The WTTC study further forecast that domestic travel spending could grow by 1.5% in 2012 to N119.4billion and rise by 2.4% per annum to N151.5billion in 2022.

As regards the industry’s impact on Nigeria’s GDP, the WTTC  report shows that travel and tourism contributed N1,232.2billion(3.3%) to the GDP in 2011; and, that even this could rise  by 10.8% in 2012 and further increase by 7.0% annually to hit N2,690.8billion in 2022.

Reacting to the report, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation’s (NTDC) Director-General, Otunba Olusegun  Runsewe, delightfully observed that the submission of the WTTC was highly credible, given the international body’s profile and track records. The NTDC helmsman further noted that report dovetails with ostensible expansion in virtually all areas cited by the report, such as “the springing up of hotels, recreation centres, eateries and the proliferation of hospitality facilities across Nigeria”.

Speaking further, Runsewe said: “I think it is fantastic, a good record for Nigeria and a testimony to fact that this administration, through the Transformation Agenda, is impacting on the economy of our country through tourism”. Otunba Runsewe also enthused that these positive projections by an international body of repute portends hope, adding that “what remains, is for Nigeria to key into tourism because it has the capacity to reduce crime and insecurity, while concurrently generating employment, thus fostering peaceful co-existence.

Concluding, Otunba Runsewe remarked: “The WTTC report agrees with Nigeria’s vision of 20-20-20. The statistics indicate that Nigeria will gain a rise in employment of 897,500, which will translate to N252billion in investment; equivalent to 1.6% increment and 1.4% annually with the aim of hitting 5.4% in 2022”.

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