A Professor of Education and Director, Abuja Model Study Centre of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Abubakar Garba Suleiman has opined that, for recreational and tourism activities to be psychologically satisfactory, ”the choice of involvement in the activity must be entirely voluntary, must be done during leisure, free from obligation or compulsion, for the purpose of pleasure, for acquisition of knowledge, away from one’s residential environment, must be temporary and short.”
Professor Suleiman, who stated this at the 10th Inaugural lecture of NOUN, entitled, ”The Need to Know and Understand Recreation, Leisure and Tourism Practices in Nigeria”, under the chairmanship of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, maintained that the choice of the topic was borne out of the need to explain recreation, leisure and tourism in Nigeria, so that those who have little knowledge of concepts will understand them very well.
In his presentation, the professor espoused the view that recreation with its physical, mental, social, emotional involvement and psychological satisfaction, is of different kinds (family, industrial, community, school, therapeutic, commercial, etc.), and that it has the capacity to rejuvenate the individual and bring him out of idleness, sleeping or just sitting down thinking.
According to him, whereas leisure is an activity done during one’s free time, in one’s good state of mind to provide opportunities not only for relaxation, self-improvement, cultural and family stability and interaction but also for escape, novelty, complexity, excitement and fantasy, tourism, on the other hand, is the desire to enjoy leisure in a different environment, one which is beautiful and which has a good climate, and is deliberate and planned for the purpose of one’s pleasure.
The university don also highlighted the constraints to recreation, leisure and tourism participation in Nigeria, which include, inadequate information, inadequate awareness, poor management of tourist destinations, economic factor, time factor, inadequate security of lives and property, lack of disposable income, and inadequate facilities.
He further listed ways in which local recreation, leisure and tourism can be encouraged in Nigeria as follows: awareness, development of infrastructure, development of superstructure, concession of easy access to land, fiscal and other incentives, joint venture by the state and other partners, tourism facilities, and project development philosophy.
Professor Suleiman, however, decried the security and safety challenges encountered by tourists in tourism destinations in Nigeria, as he enumerated ways of ensuring security at the tourism destinations in Nigeria, specifically, provision of adequate security and safety personnel by government, adequate development of feeder roads to tourist sites, provision and improvement of railway system, cooperation with private airline operators to provide services to other states’ capitals and some other cities in Nigeria.
In concluding the lecture, he suggested safety measures in the practice of tourism in Nigeria to encourage tourists, namely, staff training, implementation of legislation, regular maintenance, corrective maintenance, gate checks, employment of security personnel, security of consumers’ vehicle, security of consumers’ possessions, as well as risk assessment inspection.
Corporate Affairs Unit