Nigeria must improve its tourism offers to be competitive – Malaysian tour operator, Loong – New Telegraph

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Nigerian tourism undoubtedly has vast and rich potential, however, the task of making it a thriving tourist destination that attracts the right investment, market and tourist traffic has been challenged over the years. Despite this, it has seen a marginal level of traffic inflow both inbound and inbound. In this regard, a group of five tourists and investors from Malaysia and Indonesia, consisting of three men; Lee Sei Loong, Tjeng Tjin Tjung and Wong Chong Wah and two women; Gan Lay Hong and Ong Bie Lan, with Loong as team leader, traveled to Lagos last week.

The team’s visit to Lagos was facilitated and organized by Gadeshire Travels and Tours Limited, with Olugbenga Adebayo as founder and chairman of the travel agency. The team was on a long-distance tour of Africa, visiting nine countries including Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria, which was the last stop of the long distance tour. The group spent one night and two days in Lagos where they visited attractions such as Nike Art Gallery, Freedom Park, Terra Kulture, Makoko, Lekki-Ikoyi Long Bridge, a drive through the Cathedral Church/the Tinubu Square/Lagos Central Mosque. , Lekki Market and a break at Elegushi Beach.

Loong, originally from Malaysian Harmony Tour and Travel, is a thoroughbred travel professional and a proven tour operator who has a flair for exploring different cities to sample their culture and people, landscapes, history, arts and their crafts, natural and cultural heritage, infrastructure and facilities. others.

These are some of the things he and his band have sought to explore on their very first trip to Nigeria, which he says is the start of a long romance with Nigeria and a lasting relationship with Gahdeshire Travels and Tours. Boarding the tour, he said, was fraught with difficulties, with obtaining visas being a major inconvenience, which he said drove many tourists, who had already signed up for the journey, to retire.

He revealed that the first challenge was that before COVID-19, the Nigerian Embassy in Malaysia did not grant tourist visa, but this has changed as they now grant tourist visa since the return trip, however, the process, he said, was painful. Loong criticized the procedure requiring you to apply online and at the same time submit a paper application to the embassy, ​​which again involves a cumbersome process of filling out multiple documents. Secondly, there is the issue of delay from officials and the fact that there is no specific duration for visa collection after submission, although he said that it took about 16 days for the visa is issued. Having to go to the embassy and make phone calls many times with no positive answer was not enough, just as he also complained about the lack of detailed information on the embassy website. Furthermore, Loong decried the high visa fees, which he puts at $116, the equivalent of 450 Malaysian ringgits (MYR).

This, he said, is very high while questioning the justification of the plaintiff’s request to attach the credit card statement when paying online. Before embarking on the trip, Loong said he had heard a lot about Nigeria, with some of the things he heard not being too pleasant. One of the weak points was the problem of security whereas with regard to Lagos it was the double problem of traffic jam and overcrowding. From his travel experience he was taciturn and that is understandable for a travel expert and seasoned traveler who has visited every country in the world including countries in Africa with Libya as the only country in his basket of African destinations yet to come. visited. He decried the long hours of going through immigration and waiting for your luggage at the airport on arrival, which he says the Nigerian government needs to address. Another negative point for him, which he spoke about in all the sites visited by the group, was the lack of detailed information, promotional material and travel guides on the sites.

While commending the sites visited as good and attractive, however, he said Nigeria needed to improve its tourism offerings, facilities and infrastructure significantly if it was to compete as a tourist destination. “The sites are good but there is no detailed information about the works on display, there should be information to tell visitors what the objects are about and where in Nigeria they are from,” said Long. Adding that; ”You must work hard to improve these sites.

“I look forward to visiting and coming with tourists and investors, but there must be improvements on your tourist facilities and infrastructure.” that trip he looks forward to is Eyo Masquerade. “I’ll be here next year hopefully and can’t wait to see Eyo’s Masquerade.”

In comparison to other African destinations, he noted countries such as South Africa, Morocco and Algeria as being better and well organized than Nigeria, stating that; ”they are more organized and they provide detailed information and directions to tourists. ”Even at the airport we had a big problem with immigration, Ghana and South Africa are not like that but there are problems with Burundi, Mali, Guinea and Guinea Conakry.” His views are not what you take for granted as he says; ”I’ve been to every country in Africa except Libya. I will be in Libya in October and I have also toured all over the world.” His motivation for globetrotting, he says; ”I love this kind of work, I love travelling, I love culture, I love seeing the world, people, facilities and infrastructure.” What exactly can he say? he saw in Nigeria that is unique? He was not candid on this but rather questioned the fact that Nigeria does not seem to have any recognizable national landmark or symbol that sells the country to the world and what should be a source of traffic to the country .

“I haven’t seen anything unique in Nigeria yet, judging from my experience of traveling around the world,” he said. Pressed further, he insisted that; ”I haven’t seen anything unique yet. ”Honestly, not yet, because when you see other cities, you see how big they are, the organization and you have detailed information about them, they have world heritage sites and special places which you can visit. Even when I asked our guide about the Nigeria or Lagos landmark, he couldn’t answer me. But you need a landmark for Lagos and for your country so that when people visit you, you take them there and to other places.”

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