Although boasting a lot of
potential, Nigeria’s travel and tourism industry has remained in a state of
near-misses and failed projections occasioned by the glaring gap and huge
vacuum in the online travel booking space.
According to available
statistics, the direct contribution
of Travel and Tourism to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was N2,29bn, approximately
1.9% of total GDP in 2017 – a figure
that is expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 and 4.3% per annum from 2018-2028, to
N3,605.7bn, effectively representing 1.9% of total GDP in 2028.
On the other hand, the total contribution of Travel and
Tourism to GDP was N6,205.8bn representing 5.1% of GDP in 2017 and is forecast
to rise by 1.6% in 2018 and 4.8% per annum to N10,094.5bn from 2018-2018,
representing 5.4% of GDP in 2028.
While the figures appear
promising, it is worth considering where the Nigerian travel industry stands in
the global scheme of things.
Ranked on a global list of 185
countries, Nigeria presently stands at positions 48 in total contribution and
163 in relative contribution respectively to GDP from the Travel and Tourism
sector. In terms of expected real growth in the sector, Nigeria stands at a
poorly 168 position and 59 in long-term growth forecast (2018-2028) in the
Compared with global indices,
Travel and Tourism represents 10.4% of global GDP while one-tenth of jobs
worldwide are supported by the industry, representing 9.9% of global
employment. Furthermore, one-fifth of all of all global net jobs created in the
last decade have been within the Travel and Tourism sector.
It is an open secret that travel
and tourism is an important global economic activity, with the potential to
contribute significantly to a nation’s GDP. Added to this is the immense
employment-generation opportunity it holds when harnessed efficiently – a point
aptly embellished by Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of the World
Travel & Tourism Council when she enthused that “inclusive growth and
ensuring a future with quality jobs are the concerns of governments everywhere.
Travel & Tourism, which already supports one in every ten jobs on the
planet, is a dynamic engine of employment opportunity.”
Here in Nigeria, the engine of economic
prosperity inherent in the Travel and Tourism is yet to be unleashed, owing predominantly
to the vacuum in the online travel booking space which holds the key to
transforming the sector.
In real terms, only a small
proportion (about 13%) of Nigerian air travelers currently book travel products
online – a damning statistic for a country boasting a population grossing over
For the four components of the
Travel and Tourism sector which include Leisure travel (inbound and domestic), Business travel, Domestic travel and Foreign travel, the outlook remains the
same: total contribution of the sector to GDP is nearly three times greater
than its direct contribution.
Aligned to this is the poor experience
of most Nigerians, many of whom have expressed their dissatisfaction with the
level of service in the online travel booking space, despite the existence of a
glut of players. For many corporate travelers, a segment that represents the
overwhelming majority of online travel service consumers, the prevailing
opinion is a glaring lack of real value. Same sentiment dominates among leisure
travelers – many of whom are frustrated by sub-standard service and the limited
choices of packages/offers available among current players – two of the most recurring
pain-points that have drained confidence among customers in the sector.
Considering the nexus between
technology and value-offerings in the online travel booking space, there is a
growing need for a strong player backed by cutting-edge technology to fill the
vacuum in the sector and take the industry to the next level. Further
justifying this need is the undoubted influence of a world-class online
platform and innovation in service delivery which has transformed the entire
value chain of an allied sector such as e-Commerce in Nigeria, as seen in the
rise and dominance of strong local players such as Konga which has re-defined
the scope of offerings and customer experience in the industry.
The global travel and tourism
industry is a multi-billion-dollar establishment which relies heavily on
innovative technology and world-class customer experience in delivering a wide
range of value offerings to all classes of travelers.
Nigeria is due for this
disruption which has the potential of growing the sector’s contribution to GDP.
Digital innovation is the way forward.