The Federal Government of Nigeria in its determined efforts to develop and promote tourism into an economically viable industry had in 1991 evolved a tourism policy. The main thrust of the policy is to make Nigeria a prominent tourism destination in Africa, generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism-based rural enterprises, generate employment, accelerate rural-urban integration and foster socio-cultural unity among the various regions of the country through the promotion of domestic and international tourism. It also aims at encouraging active private sector participation in tourism development.
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE TOURISM SECTOR.
The following special investment potentials exist within the country:
– Overland Safaris
– National Parks
– Game and Gorilla viewing
– Deep Sea Recreational Fishing
– Lake and River Fishing
– Archaeological Tours
– Beach Resorts and Hotels
– Transportation-Water, land and sea
– Surfing and snorkeling
– Theme Parks and Exposition
MAJOR TOURIST CENTRES IN NIGERIA.
Tourism is relatively a budding enterprise in Nigeria but owing to Nigeria’s potentials, it has undergone a gradual but progressive evolution in the past three decades.
Nigeria is a country greatly endowed. It is blessed with warm, sundry climate, over 800 kilometers of fascinating beaches and evergreen vegetation in the South, while in the North, alluring landforms overshadows savannah grasslands. Added to these are the interesting natural features in form of water falls, springs, hills, some mountainous areas with temperate like climate and a range of special and common species of tropical wildlife. These, coupled with wide market opportunities, diverse socio-cultural heritage that gives the nation its uniqueness and the hospitality of the 140 million people earn Nigeria the sobriquet, GIANT OF AFRICA.
It is almost impossible to deny Nigeria its pride of place amongst the richly endowed potential tourist destinations in the world.
Places of Interest (Tourist Attractions in Nigeria)
Tourist attractions in Nigeria can be classified as follows:
- Natural Attractions: There are abundant physical attractions, which include hills, caves, springs, lakes and mountains across the entire country. These fascinating features and alluring scenes are good sites for leisure, adventure and other tourism-related endeavours. Example of these physical attractions are old Oyo National Park, Yankari Games Reserve in Bauchi; Obudu (Protea) Cattle Ranch, in cross River State and the Jos Wildlife Park in Plateau State.
- Man-made Attractions: These are man made sites created for the purpose of relaxation. These include the Rayfield Holiday Resorts in Jos, the Bower’s Tower in Ibadan and various amusement parks that dots the length and breadth of Nigeria’s major towns and cities.
- National Parks: National Parks are special natural ecosystems with unique attributes. They play unquantifiable roles vital to national/regional well-being as well as act as a catalyst for the development of eco-tourism. They also enhance ecological processes and life support systems such as soil regeneration, protection of nutrient cycles, cleansing and purifying hydrological cycles. There are eight such parks in Nigeria. They are:
- Yankari National Park: This is situated within Duguri, Pali and Gwana District of Alkeri local Government Area of Bauchi State. It could be reached by road from Jos Airport through Bauchi State route and from Kano through Jos-Bauchi route.
Tourist Facilities: The Park has 110 visitors’ chalets categorized along student/low income hotel, a standard restaurant, conference hall, in-door and out-door sport facilities such as table tennis, squash racket, badminton etc. There are species of large mammals like elephants, harte beasts, hippopotami, lions and about 153 known species of birds, fish, reptiles, and monkeys. It is also rich in ethno-historical and archaeological attractions.
- Kainji Lake National Park: This is closely linked with the famous Kainji lake oil hydroelectric complex. It lies between Borgu and Zugurma sectors of Kwara State. It can be reached through Lokoja, from Lagos through Ibadan, Ilorin and Jebba. The park is full of diverse wildlife, a variety of ethno-historical and cultural sites amongst which are Kobs, antelopes, hippopotami, lions etc.
Tourist Facilities: Available in the park are chalets restaurants, conference hall and a waterbus for lake cruising.
iii. Old Oyo National Park: This is located in the Northern part of Oyo State. It is rich in fauna and flora resources significant species of animals of which are the buttons, kobs, buffaloes, bushbuck and wide variety of birds. The park is close to cities like Ibadan, Ogbomosho, Oshogbo, Abeokuta, Lagos, Saki, Iseyin etc. These are cities and towns that have commercial and rich traditional impacts in Nigeria.
Tourist Facilities: Facilities available include chalets, tourist camps, standard restaurant, air conditioned bus and facilities for boat cruise and sport fishing etc.
- Gashaka Gumte National Park: This park is regarded as the most scenic of all the parks in the country. It is full of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, rivers, streams etc. It also has pleasant sub temperate climate and a home to some very highly endangered species of wild life. The Gashaka Gumte National Park comprises two sectors, each rich in its own unique flora and fauna species. The Gumte sector is located in its Northern fringe while the Gashaka is on the Southern fringe. The twin park is regarded as the largest in Nigeria and situates on a vast land of mountains and valleys shared between two states: Adamawa and Taraba in the North-East of Maiduguri, Jalingo, Yola and Republic of Cameroon.
Tourist Attractions: The Park contains some historic sites, one of which is the old German Fort at the Gashaka hill. Gangarwal peak of the chapal wadi mountain in range located in the park is the highest peak in Nigeria. The fauna include chimpanzees, cheetah, leopards, giant forest hog, colombus monkeys etc. The park is also a spawning ground for some fish species such as Nile perch, electric fish, Tilapia etc.
- Chad Basin National Park: It situates between Borno and Yobe States. The wetlands of Bade and Buguru are internationally acclaimed as congregation site for migrant birds coming all the way from Europe. The park contains some rare desert-fronted gazelle etc.
- Cross River National Park: This is about an hour’s drive from Calabar and can also be linked through the Port Harcourt route. It is in the forest zone of South East Nigeria. It has two sectors, the Southern urban division near Calabar and the Northern Okwangwo near Obudu.
Tourist Facilities: The Park is home to many localized species of plants and animals which include gorillas, drills, chimpanzee, an gwantibo, or golden potto forest elephant, saleginella species.
vii. Okomu National Park: It is located in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State. It lies 45km West of Benin City and immediately South of Udo town; it can be linked from Lagos and Warri. This park is endowed with forest elephants Loxodants Africana, buffaloes, red river hogs, Chimpanzees, leopards, white throated guenos. Okomu is also rich in bird life.
Tourist Facilities: Ranger escorts, canoeing and sports, panoramic view of the park can also be enjoyed.
viii. Kamuku National Park: It falls wholly within the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The park could be reached through the Kaduna-Lagos route from the South – West and North-East and with central parts of the country. From Abuja, the park is 305km, from Lagos, it is 780km and from Kaduna, it is 125km. The park has Elephants, Antelopes, Oribi water busts, Hunting dogs, Wet cats, Green Monkeys, side-stripped Hyena and Jackal. A wide variety of birds also are found in the park.
- Eco-Tourism and Recreation: Park viewing and bird watching are prominent recreation activities. Others are hiking among the trails. The Dogon Ruwa waterfall has a high potential for the development of swimming pool. The rocks are not only fascinating but are good training grounds for mountaineering and endurance training.
- Cultural Attractions: These are activities based on people’s ways of life expressed as religious beliefs, colourful festivals, dance, songs, artworks etc. The cultural assets of Nigeria are amongst the most fascinating in Africa, some of which include the Osun Oshogbo festival, Osun State, Eyo festival in Lagos, Kano/Katsina Durbar, Argungu in Kebbi State and Mmanwu festival in the South Eastern Nigeria.
- Museum and Monuments: Nigeria is enriched with finest collections of Arts and Crafts as well as archaeological relics showing our historical past like Terra-Cotta head from the old Nok Culture, the famous Benin Bronze art works and the Yoruba’s exciting sculptures. These great varieties of ancient relics can be found in all the branches of Nigeria national museums.
- Nigerian Crafts: Crafts are symbols of Nigeria’s material and spiritual heritage. Crafts are well integrated into the living patterns of Nigerians and inseparable from their spiritual philosophies. They are therefore prized objects for the promotion and preservation of tourism. Nigerian crafts are grouped into textiles, pottery and ceramics, fiber crafts, bronze, brass and iron works, woodworks, calabash decorations, leather works, ivory, jewelry etc.
- Conference/Business Tourism: Conference/Business Tourism is a veritable area of tourism in which Nigeria is selling fast her credentials to the rest of the world community. There is an international conference center located in the Central Business District of Abuja, which can comfortably host any conference of international standard. The elegant ECOWAS secretariat located in Asokoro District of the FCT is also complementing its service. It serves as the Administrative Headquarters of the Economic Community of West African State with facilities for international conference. The international conference centre serves as venue for conference, seminars and conventions. It has an auditorium with a sitting capacity of 2,000 and other smaller committee rooms with communication equipment and gadgets capable of translating at least four languages simultaneously. The centre is located along Herbert Macaulay Way in Garki District in Abuja.
- Sports Tourism: Nigeria can pride itself in the area of sport tourism. It has produced sport and soccer veterans whose names are today household names as far as sport tourism is concerned such leading veterans include Chioma Ajunwa, Akeem Olajuwon, John Fashanu, Bash Ali, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Taribo West and Sunday Oliseh etc. Nigeria hosted the 1999 edition of World Soccer Championship in Lagos, an event that brought to Nigeria at least over 60 countries around the world. In 1984, young talented Nigerians captured the Maiden Kodak under 16 world cup held in China and in 1996, the flying Eagles, Nigeria’s Junior National Team, made an impressive outing at the Olympics held in Atlanta. Nigeria hosted the All Africa Games in Abuja 2003. This was an evidence of the hospitality and level of sports development in Nigeria.
State By State Highlights of Tourist Attractions In Nigeria.
|Arochukwu Caves, Natural/Physical attraction * National War Museum Monument Umuahia. * Akwette Weaving Centre Arts and Crafts (Souvenirs) * Long juju of Arochukwu Cultural festivals * Azumini Bule River Natural/Man-made Tourist Village. * Museum of Colonial History Monument