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Promoting sustainable tourism in Nigeria

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By Samuel Abimbola

Cultural and environmental preservation are essential in Nigerian tourism.

Before the arrival of colonial powers, Nigeria was home to various indigenous cultures and kingdoms with distinct traditions, art forms, and architectural marvels. Interactions between different ethnic groups and exchanging goods and ideas laid the foundation for early forms of tourism, primarily driven by cultural exploration and Trade routes. Sustainable tourism is becoming an increasingly important concept in the global adventure industry. It refers to tourism that considers travel’s social, economic, and environmental impacts and seeks to minimise adverse effects while maximising positive ones. Promoting Sustainable Development in Nigeria is crucial to protecting its natural resources, preserving its cultural heritage, and supporting the well-being of its communities.

There are several ways in which sustainable development can be promoted in Nigeria. One key aspect is the protection of the country’s natural resources. Nigeria has diverse ecosystems, including rainforests, savannas, and wetlands. These ecosystems provide habitat for various plant and animal species, some of which are endemic to the region. The government can ensure that natural resources are preserved for future generations by promoting balanced tourism practices, such as limiting the number of visitors to sensitive areas, enforcing strict regulations on waste disposal, and investing in conservation efforts.

Maintaining cultural heritage is vital for sustainable development.

Preserving Nigeria’s Cultural Heritage is essential to promoting long-lasting tourism, as the country’s rich tapestry of traditions, including music, dance, art, and cuisine, showcases its diverse Cultural Identity. Supporting local artisans, musicians, and cultural practitioners ensures that these traditions are passed down to future generations while promoting cultural exchanges between visitors and communities, which promotes greater understanding and appreciation. Also, supporting the well-being of local communities through fair wages, involvement in decision-making, and Investment in development projects ensures that vacation benefits are shared equitably, contributing to the overall prosperity of Nigeria’s citizens.

In addition to the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), several other organisations promote sustainable development in Nigeria. These organisations work towards implementing policies and strategies that support Eco-friendly cultural activities, cultural heritage preservation, and Community Engagement. For example, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) promotes cultural exchanges and showcases Nigeria’s diverse artistic traditions to tourists. These collaborative efforts aim to ensure that adventure development in Nigeria is sustainable, responsible, and beneficial for visitors and local communities.

NGOs and local groups should prioritise tourism at the grassroots level.

Also, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) focuses on environmental conservation and sustainable development. They protect Nigeria’s natural resources, raise awareness about environmental issues, and promote community-based practices that minimise negative environmental impacts. Additionally, several NGOs and community-based organisations work at the grassroots level to promote sustainable tourism practices, support local communities, and conserve natural and cultural resources in Nigeria. These organisations are crucial in driving awareness, advocacy, and implementing eco-tourism initiatives in the country.

Recently, the Federal Government’s commitment to revitalising the adventure industry in alignment with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda was reaffirmed by Ms. Lola Ade-John, Minister of Tourism. She outlined various strategic initiatives to enhance Nigeria’s cultural sector, emphasising its role as a key economic driver. The minister emphasised recent proactive measures her ministry took, including the resurrection of crucial documents such as the Presidential Tourism Council and Tourism Master Plan and the completion of comprehensive inventories of explore assets at the federal, state, and local government levels.

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Lastly, promoting sustainable development in Nigeria is essential for protecting its natural resources, preserving its cultural heritage, and supporting the well-being of its communities. By implementing policies and practices that consider the social, economic, and environmental impacts of travel, Nigeria can ensure that its adventure industry remains sustainable in the long term. This will benefit the country’s Economy and environment and enhance the visitor experience, leading to greater satisfaction and repeat visits. Promoting sustainable development is a responsibility and an opportunity to showcase the country’s unique attractions and contribute to its long-term prosperity.


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