Can Tourism Influence Nigeria's International Image?
One thing that Nigeria as a country has struggled with for decades is her international image.
With due regard to the many factors that may be affecting our reputation-which needs to be addressed, tourism seems to be the ultimate solution to improve it. Hence, concerted efforts should be invested in by the government to boost and manage our international reputation.
The impact of a not very good image
The media is an agenda setter. It gives us the subjects and things to discuss and talk about. If the content of the media is negative, it rubs off on Nigeria’s international image. The impact is quick and spontaneous because very few people will brave the storm to visit Nigeria for whatever purpose due to our not very good image.
Definitely, it is not the fault of the media. It is what is happening in the country that they are reporting. Hence, every Nigerian from the top to the bottom must be involved in the reputation building of the country by what we say and do.
Flipping the coin
Almost all the country of the world have a reputation problem. It is noteworthy to say that a not too lofty reputation is not exclusive to Nigeria or Africa. However, these countries whose reputation is ‘fantastic’ have found a way to tiptoe these negative image and reverse the situation.
You see Nigerians rushing to Dubai. The fact is, Dubai is not better than Nigeria. Nigeria has lush green vegetation, mind-blowing landscapes and awesome tourist destinations but we do not sell ourselves. Dubai is in our faces so much that every Nigerian wants to go to Dubai.
We watch international stations like CNN, BBC and Aljazeera and we watch countries tapping tourism to sell themselves. They show their pristine destinations and what they have to offer tourism-wise to visitors and of course, these encourage people to visit. They also invested heavily in their tourist attractions.
If we can do same, leisure and business travellers will be attracted to the country and a business like Jumia Travel will be able to make money off them through booking of their flights, packages and hotels. At the same time, if we are hospitable, showcase our culture and take them to check out our destinations, they will return home with their minds reformed. They will pass the message to others that Nigeria is not what either the local or international media portrays it to be.
We have so much to do
Although tourism is a viable tool to invigorate or amplify our image, there are so many other things that we need to work on if we want tourism to transform it. From changing what Nigerians think and say about the country to the actions of government officials across the board and revamping tourism destination, they all combine for tourism to boost our international image.