Getting around the forecast of an industry at crossroads, may largely present a hopeless and cradle submission. Am not a keen lover of statistics and to which some perceived egg heads have used in our clime is confuse even the most educated. But there is some level of truth in working out or putting to forecast on issues to which one is grounded and open participant.
Spiritually, it has been proven that anyone close to God can perceive what may happen tomorrow accurately. Forecast(ing) is not prophecy and prophecy does not belong to realm of conjure or mundane statistics. Is forecast science? How do we describe a man or nation that knows what is good for all and fails to do it, bewitchment, sorcery or magic at play?
Is Nostradamus a prophet or black smith of scientific or metaphysics conjures and predictable? When it comes to issues of culture and tourism in Nigeria, this seeming approach to immediate and future discussion on this critical economic goal post, fails to stand. You dare risk your bet if you are bet king(s). Maybe, I choose the part of reason adopted by nations and tourism experts who tread cautiously on developmental goals in phases. Two or three years tourism master plan, five years at most and at risk of failing on the pedestal of forecast, and the unpredictability of human demands and supply, life style changes, security. Purchasing power, Immigration rules and fears, climate change and threat to environment, new culture, attitudes and dynamism of human expectation.
In tourism, caution is hardly banded about or thrown to the winds. It is a very highly responsive and reactive sector as a little distraction or organized distress can bring it to its knees. Though tourism has the strength to rebound as quickly as its falls, this ensures that most experts bridle their tongues and keeps loose statistics in check. Ours cannot be too far from this challenge and it is a poser that had made our political and local investors to stay off the radar of tourism development and it sustainability.
Throughout 2018, the findings and the supposed ride through the hills for tourism was a course. The hotels suffered drops in occupancy as government cuts down heavily on retreats, local travels, seminars and workshops.
Though the sector picked up as Nigerians and businesses decided to move out from their comfort zones to explore business opportunities around the country, but for some security concerns, our hospitality sector and its downstream will have made major impact in 2018. Bad roads though on key rehabilitation watch of this government, dealt heavily on road transportation. Obnoxious taxes, and sundry increase in fleet maintenance kept owners and operators begging for government intervention. Indeed, road transportation remains the true face and fulcrum of our domestic tourism culture begging for strategic reorganization and direction.
On Institutions of tourism development, we shall not waste our breath on Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC). It is a critical component and possible development and promotion partner but has lost colour and grace since Otuba Segun Runsewe left the place in 2013. Today NTDC lives on past glory, offers no hope or aspiration to the people and nation. NTDC is grounded on one spot and the industry players have moved on gravitating towards a better organized and tourism generating activities by National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
The museum is struggling and seems not have solution or better still, the right leadership. National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTour) under Chika Balogun took a front lead to find a future and inclusive partner of national tourism education stronghold. Its Act of progressive consolidation and independence is a masterstroke gift from this leading Amazon of immense Intellectual depth.
To NCAC, under Otuba Segun Runsewe, we doff our hearts to this culture administrator per excellence. He revived the moribund culture economy, drove pretenders out of the business, challenged practitioners to brace-up for change, ministered the culture message to governors and Commissioners of culture across the land and today, its activities and accomplishments in 2018, remained the only score card of Buhari government on culture and tourism economy. Love or hate him, Runsewe has effectively appropriated and transformed culture and tourism economy into a veritable entity, making the separation of tourism activities under NTDC a misplaced priority.
The organised private sector did at a point woke up from slumber. The industry is about creating or generating activities and to this expectation, some raves here and there kept eyes on the sector and tongues expressing sustainable appearances.
The culture and tourism media did well in 2018. The culture gate keepers upped their game and were in the forefront of projecting the true face of this economy while the tourism media advocates did not relent. Interestingly, the online publishers are breaking new grounds, creating needed robust competition with the traditional media. Just check the social media, plenty pictures and editorials now abound
about the state of tourism infrastructure, festivals, culinary destinations, and events across the country.
Next week: State by state assessment for 2019 and general overview. Keep a date here with Nostradamus II.