EXPLORING SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN NIGERIA FOR DEVELOPMENTAL GROWTH
Ayeni, Dorcas. A, PhD
Department of Architecture, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria
Ebohon, O. J, PhD
School of Architecture, Developing World Built and Natural Research Unit, De Montfort University, Leicester, England
Abstract Tourism has become a major source of economic diversification for many countries, underpinning the service sector and forging effective backward and forward linkages with the rest of the economy, allowing new employment and income earning opportunities. Although, the developed countries account for a higher proportion of global tourism, many developing countries are beginning to take advantage of the huge opportunities offered by tourism. However, only developing countries with effective natural and man-made tourism supporting and enhancing infrastructure have been able to develop their tourism sector and seize the attendant advantages. The need for economic diversification in most developing countries is overwhelming because of their defining mono-cultural economic characteristics where only one or two commodities dominate exports and provides the bulk of foreign exchange from which these countries could reconcile their internal and external balances. Nigeria is one such country seeking to diversify its economy away from crude oil production to maximize employment and income generating opportunities. Nigeria has huge tourism potentials, especially given its natural and diversified landscapes but lacks effective and tourism supporting and enhancing infrastructure. While tourism affords huge employment and income generating opportunities, its impact on bio-physical environment is well acknowledged hence the emphasis on sustainable tourism. Indeed, most of Nigeria’s natural landscapes are eco-sensitive areas and exploring them as tourist destinations must be
European Scientific Journal September edition vol. 8, No.20 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431
sustainably conducted to enhance the carrying-capacity or regenerative capacity of these landscapes. This paper critically analyses Nigeria’s tourism potentials, focusing on the impacts on the wider economy. By appealing to the qualitative method of research, the paper concludes that the tourism sector has huge potentials yet unexplored, which if fully supported, can contribute significantly to the economic diversification and poverty alleviation efforts of the government.
Keywords: Development, Economic Diversification, Growth, Sustainability, Tourism
Introduction Tourism is identified as an effective way to revitalise the economy of any destination
as noted by Long (2012) and widely acknowledged as one of the fastest growing industry globally (Lanza and Pigliaru, 1999; Raymond, 2001; Newsome et al, 2002; Basu, 2003, Ozgen, 2003;Chockalingam and Ganesh, 2010; Jennie, 2012). The continuous and rapid growth of tourism is not in isolation of the stable economic growth experienced in the global economy, which lasted from the mid-1990 to 2007. This growth has facilitated increased global disposable income, demand for leisure, and this combined with the global economic restructures in response to globalization that ensured competition in global tourism industry and drastic reductions in travel costs. Thus, tourism has become a major source of economic growth, employment, earnings, and foreign exchange for many countries (Vaugeois, 2000; Basu, 2003) and considered by developing countries as a main source of development and growth for local economies (Hodur et al, 2005; Haller, 2012). However, while the growth in tourism owes itself to global economic growth, it is also a fact that tourism has contributed immensely to the growth of the global economy. Indeed, Ozgen (2003) acknowledged that the tourism industry has...