FUNDING TOURISM FOR GROWTH – by Chibuikem Diala

“On same day that Saudi Arabia opened its doors to the world, the Kingdom announced an investment of $30 billion for the tourism sector. With such support, the potential for investors is phenomenal”

When you want to grow a sector, you place adequate investments and create appropriate policies that enables such investments to thrive. Tourism is not farming, its a creative industry that evolves over time. The Wonders of the World, the beaches, mountains, Artifacts, conservation sites, etc as cerebrated in different parts of the world didn’t fall from heaven. They were developed, managed, promoted and preserved by men and with funds.

I mentioned Saudi Arabia earlier on- a core moslem country realising the need to diversify to non-oil revenues is creating a marvelous focus on tourism receipts by building strong private sector partnerships, and more friendly legislations to drive the vision 2030 agenda.

Beyond just rhetorics, on 27 September 2019, Saudi Arabia formally announced the issuance of the tourist visa (eVisa, or On Arrival Visa) to visitors from 49 countries for a fee of $80. Ten days after the implementation of instant tourist visas, 24,000 foreign visitors entered Saudi Arabia. China visitors topped the list, with the UK and the US in second and third.

Saudi Arabia has 13 international airports with 15 domestic airports connecting the country regions and cites.

That is called vision and future focus. In 2020, we look forward to a thriving tourism sector in Nigeria with adequate plans and sufficient funding. We can’t be a tourism economy without good investments. You can’t grow a tourism state/nation without needed funds. Be ready to take the risk, build the right partnership, invest seed capitals, and promote massively.

Above all, train and develop the needed manpower.

Only seeds grow into trees, then bear fruits.

That’s how to make a difference.

Shalom and Happy 2020 in advance.

Engr. Chibuikem Diala is the CEO/CONTENT THEORIST, Sustainable Eco6tems Limited and Executive Director, International Hospitality, Tourism and Sustainability Forum, IHTEF