10 Economic Importance of Tourism in Nigeria

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10 Economic Importance of Tourism in Nigeria


The word tour is derived from Latin ‘tornare’ and the Greek ‘tornos’, meaning a movement around a central point or axis. This meaning changed in modern English to represent ‘one’s turn’. The suffix – ism is defined as an action or process; typical behaviour or quality; whereas the suffix – ist denotes one that performs a given action (Theobald 2005). When the word tour and the suffixes – ism and ist are combined, they suggest the action of movement around a circle. One can argue that a circle represents a starting point, which ultimately returns back to its beginning.

Therefore, like a circle, a tour represents a journey that is a round trip, i.e. the act of leaving and then returning to the original starting point and therefore, one who takes such a journey can be called a tourist (Theobald 2005). Okpoko and Okpoko (2002) regarded tourism simply as any temporary movement of people, either individually or in groups, from one place to another for specific ‘tourism’ purposes of pleasure, health, meetings or business; and for a period of not less than twenty-four hours.

World Tourism Organization (WTO) defined tourism as the movement of people to and stay in places outside their usual home for at least twenty-four hours but not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to any form of employment from within the place visited.

Moreover, Tourism is a major force in any economy in the world; it is one sector of the economy that has a global importance. In this world of globalization where change is constant, tourism tends to improve the economy of the third world countries and also have an impact upon the host community.

Tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world. International organizations support tourism for its contribution to world peace, poverty alleviation and also intermingling of people and culture.

 In Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Nigeria, organized tourism dates back to 1962 with the creation of Nigeria Tourist Association by group of tourism practitioners in the country (Ashikodi 2010). Tourism was officially recognized by government as a potential economic activity in 1976 with the establishment of Nigeria Tourism Board (NTB).

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In 1992, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) was established to replace NTB because the latter failed to create any meaningful impact on the country’s tourism industry. To strengthen and revitalize the tourism industry, the government in conjunction with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2006 produced National Tourism Development Master Plan (NTDC, 2006).


  1. Employment: This is perhaps the biggest economic prospects of tourism in Nigeria as well as other part of the countries. It will definitely create skilled and unskilled employment. Souvenir sellers, food vendors and retailers will naturally spring up within the community because they are aware tourists will need their services.
  2. to Increase the standard of living: There will be nothing like capital flight in the  country because tourists are spending in the host community and of course, the money made will be injected into the economy of the country  thus improving the standard of living of the poor.
  3. Opportunity to preserve culture: In addition to earning revenue, there are also cultural advantages to tourism. It can be a source of pride for local communities, and allows them to look at their history and cultural heritage and develop their own community identity. This helps the local residents to maintain their traditions and culture, while also showcasing it for all the visitors.
  4. Improved infrastructure: The additional revenue that comes into the country will be benefited by the government. It means more money will be available to give these destinations much-needed facelift. This means the infrastructure improves, with new roads being built, parks developed and public spaces improved. The better facilities bring in more visitors.
  5. Develop other income streams: In addition to improving the economy of the country, it also allows an economy to develop a new form of income. This acts as an insurance policy in case of hard times because the additional monies coming in can help support traditional industries in case they come under financial pressure.
  6. Restoring Growth: To restore growth, the plan focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification. Macroeconomic stability will be achieved by undertaking fiscal stimulus, ensuring monetary stability and improving them external balance of trade. Similarly, to achieve economic diversification, the policy will focus on the key sectors driving and enabling economic growth with particular focus on agriculture, energy, MSME led growth industry, manufacturing and key services such as tourism by leveraging science and technology. The aim is to restore growth in the short-term and create jobs and bring structural change.
  7. Investing in people: The plan aims at achieving inclusive growth by creating opportunities and providing support to the vulnerable. The ERGP will invest in the Nigerian people by increasing social inclusion, creating jobs and improving the human capital base of the economy.
  8. Building a globally competitive economy: The ERGP aims to tackle the obstacles hindering the competitiveness of Nigerian businesses, notably poor or non-existent infrastructural facilities and difficult business environment.
  9. It will increase competitiveness by investing in infrastructure and improving the business environment.
  10. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP): The philosophy behind the ERGP is that previous economic policies left the Nigerian economy ill-prepared for the recent collapse of crude oil prices and production. It will also lead to Buhari administration in the quest to diversify the Nigerian economy that it is a medium term plan which has been developed for the purposes of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.
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The following economic important of domestic tourism are:

  1. It creates Employment:
  2. It provides Additional income for the local communities:
  3. It creates Diversification:
  4. Infrastructure:
  5. Social Advantages:
  6. Ecology Advantages:
  7. Opportunities:

8. Destination exposition

9. Active participation

10. Tolerance


International tourism has increased due to people around the world having more money in their pocket, as well as the impact of greater globalisation. Global tourism has the greatest impact upon developing nations, where the sector is much-needed to provide a big source of income.

  1. Stimulates GDP Growth:
  2. Increases International Trade
  3. Boosts International Investment:
  4. Drives Infrastructure Development:
  5. Supports Low-Income Economies:

Social Inclusiveness, Employment, and Poverty Reduction

  1. Creates Jobs Efficiently:
  2. Promotes Inclusive Growth:
  3. Improves Access to Income via Travel Tech:
  4. Bolsters Artisans


The term tourism has been defined differently and some authors choose to define the term with somewhat similarities. It is serious and yet difficult for analysts in the tourism industry to come to a compromise with regards to a universal definition of tourism. Again, the vague nature of the industry makes it a herculean task in evaluating the impact of tourism on the economy when compared to other sectors of the economy (Durbarry, R. (2004).

However, we shall make use of the definition provided by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), which states that tourism “comprise the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes, different from the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited ”.

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Tourism overtime have become a strand part of many economies of many countries of the world, serving as a backbone upon which service sectors thrive with a backward and forward interconnectivity; wherewith different counties of the world interrelate along same tide.

Wherewith the benefits of tourism are a matter of controversy, it cannot be undermine that tourism provides higher returns on invested capitals; effects to increase agriculture production, and employment; generates foreign exchange, government revenue; finance for infrastructure development, and generally increases citizens welfare, helps capitals flights esp. when associated with overseas trips for holiday and proper overall economic growth.


Aliqah, K .M. A. & Al-rfou, N. A. (2010). The Role of Tourism on Economic Development of Jordan during the Period 1990-2008. European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences, 18,173-180.

Durbarry, R. (2004). Tourism and economic growth: The case of Mauritus. Tourism economics 10,389-401.

Okpoko, A. I. and Okpoko, P. U. (2002) Tourism in Nigeria. Afro-Orbis Publication, Ltd. Nsukka. P.21

Theobald F. (2005) Global Tourism. Third Edition. Elsevier-Science Publication. USA. Pp.9-10

World Tourism Organization (2008) Tourism Statistic. Available at Vol. 6, No.2. Accessed 20th February, 2009.

Mr. Harrison

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