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(ARTICLE) TOURISM, A MEANS OF ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION IN NIEGERIA BY ADETOYESE YUSUF ADEWALE

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  In the pool of the current economic confusion in the country, Nigeria
can find a friend in tourism especially in the country’s search for
economy diversification. Tourism which could be regarded as a mere
excursion of pleasure could be richer than a pot of gold if discovered
and well managed. According to research, tourism brings in large amounts
of income into a local economy in form of payments of goods and
services needed by tourists. This alone amounts to 30% of world trade of
services.
        Nigeria as a country has all it takes to be the best globally as
far as tourism is concerned, going by the country’s natural endowments
in tourism. Aside from Olumirin water fall in Erin Ijesha, Osun state,
Osun river in Osogbo, Idanre hills in Ondo state and even the temples of
deities in Ile Ife, Nigeria has other tourist attractions like the
relics of slave trade in Badagry, Obudu ranch in Cross River among
countless others.
        In diversifying Nigeria’s economy, tourism is highly
instrumental that its role can be second to none as it has helped some
countries of the world to gain the world relevance they proud to have
now. According to reports, the Common Wealth of the Bahamas is made up
of about 700 islands though most of the islands are uninhabited. Its
capital, Nassau is located on the island of Providence, the entire
population of Bahamas is about 300,000 out of which about 185,000 live
in providence, the biggest of all the islands is Grand Bahamas. Despite
the small population of 300,000, the country receives as many as five
million tourists annually. This alone is enough to be the motivation of a
big country like Nigeria with countless resources and able men and
women.
        The fact that most of Nigerian tourist endowments are associated
with the country’s diverse tribes, cultures and even religions. This is
not a sufficient reason to isolate those tourist attractions, they must
be discovered and be managed by the appropriate tourist and cultural
authorities in order to maximize it for apt economic benefit. Going by
records of tourism in other countries of the world, tourism is the only
realm that is capable of boosting the aviation sector, hotels and
transportation simultaneously. If recognized and managed, tourism could
lead the country out of the pit of economic recession it found itself
which has made things terrible economically.
        If Nigerian government and other economic stakeholders are
really determined in diversifying the country’s economy which will in
turn stop it from been oil dependent, tourism is the only resources that
can make Nigeria bigger than just been Africa’s largest economy.
Tourism is the reason why Egypt is the most visited country in Africa,
tourism has no season or barrier and its economic benefit is limitless.

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