Today’s world is radically different from the one most of us grew up to know. Since 2020, the world has witnessed a dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order in which organizations and individuals have traditionally operated. COVID-19 has pillaged the global economy, and the tourism industry, which contributes 10% to the world's GDP, is the worst hit.
The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that the hospitality industry accounts for 10 percent of global GDP and provides 1 in 10 jobs worldwide. This suggests that one in 10 workers in Nigeria is directly or indirectly employed in the hospitality industry.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) also projected that between 2019 and 2023, Nigeria is expected to be the fastest-growing hospitality market with a projected 12 percent compound annual increase. This projection is expected to significantly contribute to Nigeria's economy, creating direct and indirect hospitality jobs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered this projection.
In 2019, the contribution of travel and tourism to Nigeria's GDP was 5.1 percent. This number dropped in 2020 due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic but there is still hope. Nigeria's tourism industry has enormous potential based on the country's sheer size, our growing population, and the diversity of the tourism assets.
We have so much potential, but there's still a lot of work to be done to harness opportunities in local tourism and start exploring the possibility of developing our tourism infrastructure. For example, nothing stops us from creating a Nigerian 'Disney World' leveraging on the already buoyant Nollywood industry or building on our natural attractions like Yankari Game Reserve, Ikogosi warm spring, Olumo Rock etc.
The market already exists given the country's growing middle-class, youthful population, and increasing internet penetration to project innovations that will force the world to pay attention to us. If we can build, develop, and maintain the infrastructure and frame our abundant tourism potential in strategic hospitality business development, people will come from different parts of the world. Additionally, given that Nigeria remains the economic engine of West Africa, the hospitality industry will always thrive on supporting business travel. The role of hospitality real estate providers in achieving this ambitious goal cannot be underestimated.
Uraga Real Estate, (A Real Estate development organization of leading investment holding company, Honeywell Group Limited) as a luxury real estate provider addressed the issue of hospitality business development gaps with its Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel. The project was designed to advance leisure and MICE tourism and bring Nigeria to the forefront of tourism revival by building luxury hospitality infrastructure. As a leader in the Nigerian hospitality industry, Radisson Blu Anchorage, ), is contributing to the revival and development of tourism in the country through the deployment of various measures that include prioritizing local content and building the needed infrastructure.
Since Radisson Blu Anchorage entered the Nigerian hospitality industry in 2011,we have seen an industry that has grown steadily, witnessed improvement in quality of service and a clientele with more choices and higher expectations. This has immense potential for any player in the industry. But there are still hurdles, and the disruption caused by COVID has also joined the long list of limitations
As a proudly Nigerian company, promoting local content is critical to us; and that is why we are deliberate in our support for Nigerians and Nigerian businesses throughout our business operations.
Putting the proper infrastructure in place is one thing but getting people to visit in a changing world is a whole new challenge. A study on Monitoring Sentiment for Intra-European Travel released in January 2021 by the European Travel Commission identified health and safety considerations as the most important travel factor for consumer travel experiences.
"46.6% of Europeans are likely to book their next trip via an online booking engine and 27.6% directly through the accommodation/airline websites, maintaining a positive sentiment towards digital travel platforms," the study says.
We are also exploring the opportunities offered by digital media to further expose and promote Nigeria's tourism potentials to the rest of the world and make the nation a top priority for tourists as they smartly consider where to visit in our changing world.
with a willingness to take deliberate actions, other stakeholders in the hospitality industry can also put in some level of commitment like Radisson Anchorage to drive the revival of Nigeria's tourism sector.
The World Economic Forum has said, "the COVID-19 crisis is likely to increase awareness that companies must consider societal needs and ethical standards, not just short-term profits."
In a few years that may not be too far from now, it will be our turn to answer a question similar to what many of us once asked of our grandparents: What did you do during the war?
When future generations look back at the 2020s and ask - 'what did you do during the pandemic?' We want them to see it as the decade in which organization, individuals, and nations took deliberate actions to create a brighter future and the path to prosperity for Nigeria's tourism industry after a chaotic pandemic.
When that story is told, we firmly believe that the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel will feature prominently in it.
- by Moyo Ogunsinde, Executive Director, Uraga Real Estate
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