Regardless of huge and wealthy potential, the duty of constructing Nigeria a thriving vacationer vacation spot that pulls the best funding, market and vacationer site visitors has through the years been challenged.
In a bid to vary this narrative, indigenous tour agency Gadeshire Travels and Excursions Restricted, which was based by Olugbenga Adebayo introduced a gaggle of 5 vacationers and traders from Malaysia and Indonesia to Lagos final weekend.
The group is made up of three males– Lee Sei Loong, Tjeng Tjin Tjung and Wong Chong Wah – and two girls– Gan Lay Hong and Ong Bie Lan– with Loong because the chief of the crew.
The crew was on an extended haul tour of Africa, visiting 9 international locations –Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria– within the final leg of the lengthy haul tour.
The group spent one evening and two days in Lagos the place they visited some vacationer websites reminiscent of Nike Artwork Gallery, Freedom Park, Terra Kulture, Makoko, Lekki-Ikoyi Lengthy Bridge. In addition they made a drive by way of the Cathedral Church/Tinubu Sq./Central Mosque, Lagos and Lekki Market and had a day trip at Elegushi Seaside.
Loong, who’s from Malaysian Concord Tour and Journey, is a thoroughbred journey skilled and a examined tour operator with aptitude for exploring totally different cities to pattern their tradition and folks, landscapes, historical past, arts and crafts, pure and cultural heritage, infrastructure and amenities, amongst others.
These have been a number of the issues that his group sought to discover of their first ever journey to Nigeria, which, based on him, is the start of an extended romance with Nigeria and enduring relationship with Gahdeshire Travels and Excursions.
Loong, nevertheless, famous that the process to embark on the tour to Nigeria was fairly difficult, as visa procurement was a significant downside. He stated this resulted in lots of the vacationers, who had earlier signed on for the journey, to again out.
He disclosed that the primary problem was that earlier than COVID-19, Nigeria embassy in Malaysia was not granting vacationer visa however that has modified because it now grants it for the reason that return of journey, however the course of, he stated was harrowing.
Loong faulted the process requiring you to use on-line and on the similar time submit a hardcopy software on the embassy, which once more entails the tedious means of filling out a number of papers.
He additionally famous the difficulty of the tardiness of the officers and the truth that there isn’t a particular length for assortment of visa after submission, though he stated it took about 16 days for the visa to be issued.
He decried having to go to the embassy and make telephone calls on many events with out constructive response, simply as he condemned lack of detailed info on the embassy’s web site.
Moreover, Loong decried the excessive visa charges, which he places at $116, an equal of 450 Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). This, he stated, was on a really excessive aspect whereas additionally questioning the rationale behind requesting candidates to connect the assertion of bank card whereas making cost on-line.
Loong stated the information of insecurity in Nigeria was one other problem earlier than embarking on the journey. He famous that site visitors gridlock and overcrowding are main challenges in Lagos. He lamented the lengthy hours of passing by way of immigration and ready for baggage on the airport on arrival, urging the Nigeria authorities to handle the scenario.
Whereas commending the websites visited pretty much as good and engaging, he, nevertheless, suggested that Nigeria wants to enhance quite a bit on its tourism choices, amenities and infrastructure if it needs to be aggressive as a vacationer vacation spot as a number of the websites lack detailed info, promotional supplies and journey guides.
‘‘The websites are good however there isn’t a detailed details about the works on show. There must be info to inform the guests what the objects are about and the locations in Nigeria that they’re from.”
The worldwide tourism skilled, who disclosed that he could be visiting Nigeria once more subsequent yr with one other crew, stated one of many issues he missed on this journey however seemed ahead to is Eyo Masquerade. ‘‘I will probably be right here subsequent yr, hopefully and I sit up for seeing the Eyo Masquerade.’’
As compared with different Africa locations, he scored international locations reminiscent of South Africa, Morocco and Algeria as higher and nicely organised than Nigeria. ‘‘They’re extra organised and so they present detailed info and route to the vacationers. Even on the airport, we had a giant downside with the immigration, however Ghana and South Africa weren’t like this. Nigeria appears to not have any recognisable nationwide landmark or image that sells the nation globally and what must be a supply for driving site visitors to the nation. We additionally encountered challenges in Burundi, Mali, Guinea and Guinea Conakry.’’