Africa: Operators at Akwaaba 2022 Urge Businesses to Develop Tourism Products

Worried about the general apathy by Nigerian to spend their holidays in the country, some Nigerians experts have advised governments at all levels in the country to develop domestic tourism.

Key figures in the tourism industry who were panelists at a programme during the just-concluded Akwaaba African Travel Market (tourism exhibition) in Lagos said there is a bit of improvement in the trend.

They said some people now spend their leisure time within the country, hinting that the rising cost of air fares is reducing foreign travel.

They cautioned citizens against travelling outside the country any time they want to unwind.

Others said what the holidaymakers are looking for outside the country is actually here, saying that if you develop it, tourists will come.

Speaking on the topic “Can Lagos Become a Global Travel Destination of Choice?”, the tourism operators and entrepreneurs, including the CEO of Wakanow, Adebayo Adedeji and General Manager of Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, Danny Kioupouroglo, said everybody should have a way of unwinding.

Generally, they said attention should be on domestic tourism, pointing that Lagos boasts huge leisure offerings capable of changing the narrative.

READ: Africa: Experts says Nigeria can earn $20bn and West Africa $50bn from Tourism Annually, citing SA, Egypt and Kenya

One of them said the informal economy is huge and government is losing tax.
They urged investors to look in as the products need more development and that the focus should be more on creating tourist products that will be alluring.

For them, there should be efforts that will directly showcase the country for people to know that there are facilities they can patronise as tourists and spend their money.
Kioupouroglo emphasised that people should develop products. “We need not go to Dubai or London, we can do a lot of things in Lagos,” he noted.

Kioupouroglo expressed satisfaction with the vibrant leisure market in Lagos.
He said: “We are not trying to preach Eko Hotels but we created a holiday package, Eko Tropical Christmas Wonderland, that takes place annually. We have Christmas package that is selling. It is phenomenon.”

He explained that before Eko Tropical Christmas Wonderland was created, Lagos used to be empty during Christmas, “we created the family package and it has transformed Lagos since 2018.” Adedeji agrees, saying, “There’s money to be made in Lagos.”

He quickly added that both domestic and international tourism are important. “Please, don’t stop travelling out, visit Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Rwanda. When you come back take your children to visit interesting places in Lagos,” he said.

Adedeji narrated how his children said they always have fun in Lagos when they visit.
Another panelist, Dayo Adedayo said “Lagos is beautiful,” but so much that needs to be done in the tourism industry.

By Justina Uzo
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