The Policy of The Federal Government of Nigeria in its determined efforts to develop and promote tourism into an economically viable industry 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.
The following Institutional framework has been put in place to enhance effective execution of the tourism policy
-The Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.
-State ministries of Commerce and Tourism implement policies and directives from the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.
-They initiate projects for tourism development in the states.
-The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) is the apex tourism body responsible for promoting, marketing and disseminating information on the industry locally and internationally,through publication of hand books, brochures and general guidelines for the operation of the industry. Incentives for Investors The following incentives have been put in place to encourage domestic and foreign investors’ participation in the tourism industry in Nigeria.
-The tourism sector was accorded preferred sector status such as tax holidays, longer years of moratorium and import duty exemption on tourism-related equipment.
-Establishment of a specialised training institute, National Institute for Hotels and Tourism Studies, Bagauda, Kano, where middle level manpower training is provided.
-State governments are willing and prepared to fascilitate aquisition of land through issuance of certificate of occupancy for tourism development purposes.
-Some states have specific areas as tourism development zones, thereby making acquisition of land easier.
The combination of factors, both geographical and socio-cultural makes Nigeria a good tourist destination in the continent of Africa. Nigeria, because of its size and physical location, spans several vegetational belts. The equitorial climate provides radiant sunshine most of the year.
Airports and Airlines
There are airports in the major cities of Nigeria. several domestic airlines and major European and African airlines combine to link Nigeria with the rest of the world through the international airports in Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Abuja and Maidugiri. Hotels and Restaurants There are several good hotels in Nigeria, including international franchise chain hotels such as Sheraton, Hilton and Meridien. Excellent restaurants offering a wide range of choice in meals, drinks and entertainment are also in abundance in the major cities. The various hot dishes of ethnic cuisines are well patronised.
Nigeria is bounded in the South by the Atlantic Ocean, which for about 800km washes the nation’s sandy, coastline. The various beaches are unique tourist sites lined with coconut and palm groves, and Golf courses for recreation.
Culture and Arts
As a nation of diverse people and culture, the various ethnic characteristics provide opportunity for cultural tourism of compelling attractions. Throughout Nigeria, there are cultural and historical sites that have been preserved. In many communities annual traditional festivals are held. There are famous regattas and fishing festivals. Many areas of the country are good in crafts, carvings and sculpture. Many museums exhibit the famous Benin and Ife bronzes and terra cota, traditional art, craft, music, dance and drama.
The following special investment potentials exist within the country;
-Game and gorilla viewing;
-Deep sea recreational fishing;
-Lake and river fishing;
-Beach resorts and hotels;
-Transportation – water, land and air;
-Surfing and snorkelling;
-Theme parks and exposition centres.