As surging fuel prices and global thriftiness discourages long-distance flyers from spending, OBINNA EMELIKE finds alternative in domestic destinations this summer
As the naira continues to fall from its once appreciable and stable height, and the price of aviation fuel (Jet-A1) keeps soaring higher, there is no doubt that this has considerably affected travel budgets due to unprecedented exchange rate and exorbitant air fares.
And going by this experience, is it not time to look inwards to what domestic destinations that abound in the country can offer? It is really time, to make your travel naira worth a fortune even as the global meltdown moves traffic closer to domestic destination.
As summer is fast approaching, the iconic museums and landmarks of Europe and America are, of course, huge draws for Nigerians and other Africans planning international vacation. But with naira’s worth significantly less than the dollar and euro, that trip to Eifel Tower in Paris, Trafalgar Square in London or Los Angeles to unravel the Hollywood can leave a deep hole in your pocket. The diminishing tourists’ buying-power for everything over there, from the price of bugger, admission to a theatrical concert and to a room in one of London’s city hotels will definitely stop you.
As price becomes key issue, you can travel to some major Nigerian and other neighbouring African destinations offering value for money and with favourable exchange rates. For the domestic traveller, you can easily get to your destination, stay, eat and enjoy your experiences even on a weak naira!
For those who cannot contain their wanderlust, but are watching their wallets, domestic destination is the answer. Honestly, they are considerably good, breathtaking and improved. Also, choosing a destination where the naira is strong, considering packages where rates are set far in advance and exploring unconventional locals can help satisfy your wanderlust as well.
Off course, it is cheaper to see petty jealousy and fight of male gorillas to maintain their female folks or experience the exhilarating canopy walk, both at Afi Mountain Sanctuary in Cross Rivers State. A ride across the Obudu landscape onboard the cable car, a bath at Ikogosi Warm Spring and a swell-day with wildlife at Yankari Games Reserve among other beach activities on the coastline of Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri are more affordable now that the naira is weak than its overseas options.
With N150,000 including return ticket, you can enjoy a weekend or three days trip at Obudu Mountain Resort this summer whilst that money is not enough for return ticket for vacation in Europe or America. If your concern is security or serenity, Obudu is safe, serene and dotted with natural attractions. Before leaving that zone, Aquavista Resort in Calabar, (N100,000 can last you a week here if you are prudent); Tinapa Lakeside Resort; Le Meridein Ibom Golf and Resort, near Uyo are perfect holiday options that will leave you asking for more.
If you are in Lagos, forget prejudice against local attractions; just leave your comfort zone and see things with new eyes. Surely, La Campaigne Tropicana, Akodo Beach Resort, Epe Resort all along the Lekki Free Trade Zone will enthral you especially if you are a lover of beach fun. If you have gone before, try now because there are improvements that will surprise you. From N50,000 to N100,000 your weekend is sure a splendid one at these beach resorts.
With a partnership arrangement, Ikogosi Warm Spring now offers more breathtaking accommodation option amid its natural thrills. No matter your class, the resort welcomes you to a communion with nature. With N80,000, you can get a weekend treat, though you travel by road.
Abraka Turf, the Ibru Centre in Agbaraha-Otor both in Delta State are places you can truly relax and rejuvenate while on holiday.
The good thing is that most of these outfits offer packages with advance rates/payment while you can always get more information about them by visiting their websites.
With the high exchange rates against the naira, the recent experience of some Nigerian tour operators to the US calls for the need to seek succour in home-grown destinations.
As it stands, their different experiences influenced by the current trend, tends to draw traffic closer to cheaper destinations, especially at domestic level compared to long-haul travel and far destinations.
Some of them are more resilient now at visiting friends and relatives, while repeat visits are made when it is very necessary to do so. While in the US, some of the tour operators who delight in special interest and independent travelling on their foreign tours put off some of these expensive trips because of the high cost.
The decline in the average length of their stay, as well as their expenditure is more pronounced now than in the overall volume. “Last year, I sneaked out to see a friend in Houston some good kilometres from here. But I cannot on this trip because the hotel charges are becoming unbearable. I must check into the next available flight to Nigeria or I will be grounded here.” A disgruntled tour operator voices out.
Another says the fact is that the meltdown is even affecting the way things are done in western world and the problem now is not just in squeezing out almost all of one’s life fortune for an overseas holiday, but getting the optimum leisure from it.
As the local currencies worth substantially less than the dollar and euro, savvy tourists in Nigeria with strong currencies, stand the chance to be favoured as they use their high purchasing power to experience a new culture for a reasonable cost.
While travellers spend less on travel globally, tourism and hospitality businesses in Nigeria that entice tourists to domestic splendours and also adapt to service travellers on a tighter budget will definitely do well.