The Nigerian Tourism Industry & Her Beef with Data

Registration at Erin Ijesha
Niyi Signing in at the entrance of Erin Ijesha. This was Nomadic Negro's very first group trip.

Of course, you’ve had an encounter with them more than once. If not at school, it most likely would have been at the workplace. Attendance registers are an essential part of the life of an average Nigerian.

This post, however, will focus on the irrelevance of attendance registers at major Nigerian tourism destinations.

Almost every tourist destination in Nigeria has these books which every visitor is conditioned to fill before accessing the premises. They are mostly dirty, with crooked lines separating their columns. Many of them are without back covers. The fields you’re expected to fill vary per destination. While some require the provision of extraneous data such as one’s *father’s maiden name*, others will for your Granny’s phone number. Yes, sh*t can be that crazy.

A view from the top of Ado-Awaye mountain. A mountain that houses one of the only 2 suspended lakes in the world.

To the officials manning these books, it’s a really important duty, even though they know little to nothing about why they’ve been instructed to force tourists to put down these data. To the tourists, it’s just another attendance book- one which they must just fill without questioning if they are really desirous of accessing the facility.

Having written in more than 20 of these books as a traveler, I’ve come to the conclusion that, as a country, we’ve for a long time undermined the power of Data. To simply put:

the Nigerian Tourism sector isn’t data-driven.

The Nigerian Tourism Industry (which on paper is potentially among the richest in Sub-Saharan Africa). would have excelled beyond its present state if the major stakeholders will give data a positive nod. By this, I mean taking Data as important as every other phenomenon geared towards driving the growth of the industry.

Lekki Conservation centre canopy
The mighty canopy walkway at the Lekki Conservation centre canopy is currently the longest in Africa.

Why Data Should Be Given a Chance?

With a chance to thrive, the data gathered over time from these big books would do so much to providing the bodies responsible for our nation’s tourism enough insight which would transcend into the formulation of more effective and efficient reforms within the Sector.

If asked what the most popular destination in Egypt is, I’m dead sure you’d mention the Pyramids of Giza by default.

But can you answer the same for Nigeria?

Now, this could mean either or both of these two:

  1. Egypt has worked well with data to understand that the Pyramids of Giza, is its greatest destination, hence why they’ve focused their marketing and storytelling around it.
  2. Nigeria is yet to truly believe in tourism as a major means of earning foreign exchange.


Related: How Tourism Can Solve The Debt Problems Of Osun State


Imagine the greatness that could happen if we have yearly data supplied by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation containing:

  • The most visited tourist destination in Nigeria.
  • The average number of tourists per destination.
  • The least visited destinations.
  • The most visited destinations by females.
  • Monthly/Quarterly Rating of destinations by tourists.

This list can go on and on.

The truth remains that the Nigerian Tourism Industry has all it takes to become the tourism capital of Africa, but you see, Barba non facit philosophum is a Latin phrase which loosely translates to mean:

 A beard does not make one a philosopher

By implication, the presence of a huge deposit of destinations (both natural and artificial), scattered across Nigeria necessarily will not translate into wealth for us, if all we do is pride ourselves as a choice destination, without the efficient use of data in making informed decisions about the best procedure to take in giving a facelift to this promising industry.


  1. No but seriously, what is Nigeria and Tourisms beef with Data?

    We need to shout it some more!

    But the culture seems to be changing. I know of a Transport company that is working hard to build an online booking aggregation platform for all the inter-state transport companies across the country. The service run by Atobe Travel provides convenience for travellers so you dont have to physically go to the park before making a booking.

    Not sure if it speaks directly to tourism, but imagine the amount of uncaptured mobility that takes place on Nigerias road daily, and what capturing such data can do for the tourism industry.

    You can Check out @AtobeTravel on Twitter and the strides they’re making to answer the question you just raised.

    • I agree with you that the culture is gradually changing, and I’m strongly optimistic about a turnaround.
      I’d look up @AtobeTravel and see what they are actually working on.
      Thanks for stopping by to read my blog too.

  2. While in Cape Coast, Ghana someone told me that the reason why Ghanaian tour atractions charge foreigners more is because they have seen that we visit the place more than their own people.

    As simple as that may sound, they have been able to use that information to package themselves. Nigeria? We’re still busy shouting no Cameras allowed for no reason whatsoever.

    • I laughed hard reading your last sentence!
      So, I think the bodies responsible for Tourism in Ghana have decided to start backing the talks with actions- a realization their Nigerian counterparts are yet to realize, let alone start doing.
      I’m hopeful things will someday change. I’m really optimistic, Jadesola.