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Transportation: A major catalyst in stimulating growth in Nigeria’s tourism sector

Transportation
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Transportation is an integral part of the tourism industry. it links tourists with the various destination attractions within any society and acts as a stimulus in the growth of the tourism industry.

Tourism expands more efficiently when there are better transportation systems in place. For tourism to expand and grow there has to be proper maintenance of the existing roads network, construction of standard and quality roads, construction of more rail networks, water and air transportation network facilities which includes construction of strategic local airports, enhancement of local flight operations, adequate functioning of security networks and systems.

Tourism development can even grow bigger, if more provisions are made in the various elements of the transport systems. In Nigeria, it’s very important for all its stakeholders such as Government and the Private companies to be actively involved in the development of tourism across the entire nation which has the potential of opening up the economy of any nation. Many developed nations across the globe take advantage of covering the budget deficit and add more value to its economy with the help of the tourism sector, that is why tourism is called ‘a factory without chimney’.

The tourism sector has its own unique features that differentiates it from other sectors because the customers who are the tourists,comes to the destination where the tourism services they need are available and with proper functioning transportation systems which could be by road, rail, water or air mode of transportation,which makes a successful tourism system connected to a viable transportation system. Its impossible to think or dream of viable tourism industry without good transportation systems in place.

Transportation is the number one means to carry passengers or tourists to the actual site when tourism services are performed and the development of transportation infrastructures such as good transportation vehicles, airports, rail systems, water transport systems.Modern infrastructures and technologies are used in driving the sector which accelerates the development of any society or nation.

The statistics of World Tourism Organizations shows that there was tremendous growth in the sector between 2005 and 2015. According to United Nations World Tourism Organizations, it stated that international tourists arrival grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,1184 million in 2015 according to the 2015 UNWTO World Tourism barometer, some 50 million more tourists travelled to international destinations around the world in 2016 as compared to 2014 and 2015 which indicated the above average growth and with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year since the post crisis year of 2010.International tourism level hit new heights in 2015 with Europe +5% leading growth in this sector even with weaker Euro, followed by Asia Pacific, the Americas and the middle east.Limited available data made Africa’s performance more difficult to accurately quantify, but UNWTO pointed to a -3% decrease that was primarily attributable to weak results in North Africa, the organization said overall results were influenced by exchange rates, oil prices, natural and man-made crisis in many parts of the world, meaning that a mixed performance was recorded across individual destinations, but UNWTO projected a rise in international tourists arrivals in 2016.

As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, Travel & Tourism creates jobs, drives exports and generates prosperity across the world. In the annual analysis of the global economic impact of Travel & Tourism, the sector is shown to account for 10.4% of global GDP and 313 million jobs, or 9.9% of total employment in 2017,the right policy and investment decisions can only be made with empirical evidence andfor over 25 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has been providing this evidence, quantifying the economic and employment impact of Travel & Tourism.

The 2018 Annual Economic Reports cover 185 countries and 25 regions of the world, providing the necessary data on 2017 performance as well as unique 10-year forecasts on the sector’s potential. 2017 was one of the strongest years of GDP growth in a decade with robust consumer spending worldwide. This global growth transferred again into Travel & Tourism with the sector’s direct growth of 4.6% outpacing the global economy for the seventh successive year. As in recent years, performance was particularly strong across Asia, but proving the sector’s resilience, 2017 also saw countries such as Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt that had previously been devastated by the impacts of terrorist activity, recover strongly.

This power of resilience in Travel & Tourism will be much needed for the many established Travel & Tourism destinations that were severely impacted by natural disasters. While data shows the extent of these impacts and rates of recovery over the decade ahead, beyond just numbers, International tourists associations and its Members are working hard to support local communities as they rebuild and recover.

Inclusive growth and ensuring a future with quality jobs are the concerns of governments everywhere. Travel & Tourism, which already supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, is a dynamic engine of employment opportunity and over the past ten years, one in five of all jobs created across the world has been in the sector and with the right regulatory conditions and government support, nearly 100 million new jobs could be created over the decade ahead.

Over the longer term, forecast growth of the Travel & Tourism sector will continue to be robust as millions more people are moved to travel to see the wonders of the world. Strong growth also requires strong management and global tourism bodies have continued to take a leadership role with destinations to ensure that they are planning effectively and strategically for growth, accounting for the needs of all stakeholders and using the most advanced technologies in the process and are proud to continue to provide the evidence base required in order to help both public and private bodies make the right decisions for the future growth of a sustainable Travel & Tourism sector and for the millions of people and nations who depend on it economically.

One of the most important factors that have contributed to the huge success of the tourism industry globally was the rapid development of the transportation sector and the various application of technological innovations which enabled the tourists to reach many of their locations and destinations around the world.This has necessitated the call for Nigeria to invest more in this sector and provide the industry with more support so as to make transportation play a more important role in enriching the travel experience of tourists within the Nigerian space.

Transportation on its own can turn into a separate tourist attraction elements in Nigeria if well utilized ,this could be in the form of cruising ,orient express trains ,boat trips along the rivers in the South West, South South and South Eastern parts of Nigeria,which has large areas covered by water and are the best examples in boosting tourist attractions. Some of the effective factors in choosing the transportation mode in tourism are as follows time limit,distance,status,comfort,security,benefits,price,geographical location,and competition.

Some of the major forms of transportation modes in tourism are air travel ,automobile transportation, railway transportation and water transportation, with air transportation as the most important mode in the tourism sector. As I earlier mentioned the tourists travel experience starts and ends with transportation and so if Nigeria wants to gain sustainable growth in its economy and the tourism sector, we must pay more attention to the sector and invest more resources to the transportation sector, reduce monopoly in the sector, provide sound competition opportunities for players and attract more private sector investors and participators to the industry.

In Summary,in order to develop and increase the role of transportation in the tourism industry Nigeria must as a matter of urgency give priority to the following points, the transportation modes specific to the regions must be developed, the transportation costs must always be kept competitive, we must develop tourists sites in areas close to the riverine areas and make the sea and railway modes of transportation more attractive, new embarkation ports must be established in order to develop cruise travel, new fast train lines must be established and new fast trains must be bought with foreign experience applied, the distance from stations must be kept less, new coaches must be bought, our air industry must be revived and new technologically advanced aircraft must be put into the industry, all personnel in the industry must be given world standard training’sand overall the government must allocate more financial resources for the development of transportation across the entire nation which will make both the tourism and transportation industries open up to attract more investors both nationally and internationally.

 

Festus Okotie

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