Hospitality and Tourism Consultant, Mr. John Akumba Adzer, has said that, safety and security are vital to providing quality in the industry, stressing that the success or failure of tourism destinations or the hospitality industry depended on the safe and secure environments provided for guests and visitors.
Adzer stated this in a paper, titled, “Hospitality Industry in the Midst of Security and Safety Challenges in Nigeria,” which he presented at the 2-day Tourism Stakeholders Workshop, organised by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation recently in Nanet Suites, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Underscoring the importance of security and safety management in tourist sites in Nigeria, particularly states affected by insurgency, the tourism consultant listed some of the countries affected by terrorist attacks and their aftermath, starting from the September 11, 2001 (9:11) incident in New York and Washington, which led to the collapse of American Airlines among other fatal damages.
According to him, the current crises in Israel, attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria Libya, and Kenya, have all resulted in the temporal retardation of economic progress in those countries, just as the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has caused serious harm to the economy of the country, especially the North-East geo-political zone.
Adzer noted that it was unfortunate that some states in Nigeria, namely, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, and the Federal Capital Territory, where there are major tourist sites and attractions, like the Lake Chad National Parks, Sukur World Heritage Site, Hadejia Nguru Wet Lands, and part of the Gashaka Gumti National Parks, have been adversely affected by the incessant attacks by the Boko Haram sect.
He further highlighted crime-related incidents as, (a) theft, piracy, vandalism, arson, murder, fraud; (b) terrorism, which can be domestic, cross-border or international; (c) wars: cross-border, civil, trans-boarder or wars of attrition; (d) civil or political unrest, coup d’état, uprising, religious, political, riots or violent demonstration in tourist sites and hotels, which have all had major negative effects on the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria.
In concluding the paper, the presenter proffered a ten (10) bullet-points solution to the challenges militating against the Tourism and Hospitality industry and by extension the nation at large, some of which were providing Tourist Police in Nigeria, availability of media and image management plans, provision of integrated contingency marketing plans for each crisis stage, Public-Private cooperation in security provision, and availability of financial assistance from Government, NGOs and Donor Agencies, among others.
Speaking in an interview with NICO News shortly after his paper presentation, Adzer lamented that, since Nigeria has been facing a lot of security challenges, tourism as part of the country, was adversely affected as well as tourists.
His words: “Generally, Nigeria is not safe. Tourism is part of the country, so when you are now talking about security and safety you are not excluding tourist coming, you are also talking about other people in the particular aspect so the tourist coming are using visa are under the federal government and immigration must know that they are coming in, the Federal Ministry of Tourism is expected also to take statistics about who and who is coming and for what purpose. So for purpose of classification theoretically they are relevant and they are important;” adding that, those that benefit from tourists, gain information or monetary wise, have been left without jobs.
He submitted that, the implication of all of the above to government, tourism sector, and all other agencies involved to an extent has a negative representation on Nigeria, saying, “there is need for government to see new ways out of this particular situation by looking at those particular areas of concern, counteract negative travel advisories just like Israel and Egypt did. Government should be able to advertise or promote other places in the country by counteracting the negative travel advisories. Calabar, Lagos and others have always been very good destinations, safe havens for tourists and can be promoted to counteract the other affected areas.”
Njideka Justina Dimgba
Corporate Affairs Unit,