The Hospitality/Tourism Industry in Nigeria contributed about 4.8% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016, a rise from 1.7% in 2015. This contribution was a major boost for the economy given that the economy was in recession. The main drivers of Hospitality and Tourism Development in Nigeria are Business travels, People visiting Friends and Relatives (including Diaspora Nigerians), Meetings and Conferences, Festivals, Cultural Events including music and dances and food services.
In the domestic market, business travel is booming and leisure travel market emerging. While in the international market, visitor numbers are amongst the highest in Africa (more than three million visitors annually); most visitations are to friends, relatives or business purposes. Domestic travel spending grew to NGN 2.7bn, a 4.9% increase in 2016 over 3.2% recorded in 2015. Lagos is the main destination in Nigeria, well-known as a business destination. The Hotel business in Lagos is made up of the branded outlets and the non-branded hotels. As at 2013, Lagos had 2,200 branded hotel rooms and 3000 non-branded hotel rooms. Average Room Rates (ARR) in Lagos were the 4th highest globally at about $230 in 2016. The Lagos hotel business leads the sector growth in Nigeria. Lagos also leads Africa in the number of new planned rooms, boosting over 4,000 planned rooms, mainly driven by business development interest of international luxury hotel chains.
The food services industry, which comprises catering services, leisure locations, and hospitality and food establishments is a rapidly growing market. However, this growth is largely driven by the rapid development of the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) which accounted for 33% of the Food Services Industry in 2008. Nigerian food services industry is estimated to be worth over a trillion Naira, with the Fast Food segment gulping over N250 billion. This number is still expected to rise in the near future.
The meetings and conference market in Nigeria is predominantly domestic, with some international delegates attending events in Abuja and Lagos. Demand is generated by the professional associations (of which there are many organized establishments generating demand on a national and regional level), government, companies (especially those in the financial, oil & gas, and education sectors). Other are NGOs and the social sector organizing events including music concerts, fashion shows, award ceremonies and weddings.
Festivals, celebrations and dances are integral part of Nigerian culture depicting the country’s native customs and traditions in a meaningful and colourful way and provide tourists with a unique opportunity to sample and flavor. Nigerian cultural festivals have deep significance for locals and are a focal point of the year which attracts those natives working in cities back to the their towns and villages. They play a significant role in developing domestic tourism in Nigeria. Of recent the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has highlighted the growing number of religious travels. People travel to and within Nigeria to attend the annual or time based conventions of the mega-churches. A survey carried out by the NTDC revealed that the large evangelical churches such as Redeemed Christian Church of God and Mountain of Fire Ministries attract more than 15 million people to their prayer grounds during their December congresses.
Statistics collected by the National Bureau of Statistics is totally inadequate, uncoordinated, and not in compliance with the UNWTO International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008 (IRTS2008). A compilation guide was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission in 2008 for world-wide implementation of IRTS. This lack of reliable information is a major impediment to the development of hospitality and tourism in Nigeria. The absence of Visitor Information Centers Accreditation Programme and Tourist Information Centers are great obstacles to the planning and development of tourism. This has resulted in poorly trained staff and badly managed tourism systems in the country. Equally, absence of training of tourism destination marketing strategy, and weak destination management organizations add to the continued backwardness in Nigeria tourism industry. There are virtually no agencies responsible for regulating and monitoring food safety standards and practices. This include lack of system that provides accreditation and certification System for food handlers.
GEM intends to support this sector through investing in activities that improve industry growth, including but not limited to (i) access to land (ii) visitor attractions (iii) skills development (iv) marketing (v) standards enforcement; and (vi) other value /supply chain support activities.