The Nigerian Tourism Industry & Her Beef with Data
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Nigeria is yet to truly believe in tourism as a major means of earning foreign exchange.
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.