The COVID-19 pandemic has a huge impact on the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers. The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread.
In Nigeria, this forced many tourism destinations to look towards domestic tourism and while many had to re-strategize to circumvent the challenges posed by the pandemic. Albeit, some had the option to improvise to stay afloat despite the challenges. They made the most efforts to stay relevant in promotion of tourism in Nigeria during the lockdown period. This also made some state governments to renew their drive towards boosting their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) with tourism on the priority list of some naturally endowed states.
This was the case as Cross Rivers State reactivated the Obudu Mountain Resort. Other states in Nigeria that had activities included Oyo, FCT, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Ekiti and Lagos among other endowed states in projecting the tourism destinations in their respective states. During the Yuletide season, the Akwa Ibom Christmas Village which was reopened on December 1, 2020 created a value worth over N1 billion.
There have been different activities from the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Federation of Travel Agencies of Nigeria (FTAN) and other travel and tourism bodies in driving the publicity and attractiveness of the beauty and splendor of Nigeria. It was spearheaded by a group of tourism experts led by Amb. Ikechi Uko and members of Naija7Wonders, with the weekly Zoom conference that ran for 6 months on the destinations to visit in Nigeria.
Below is a list of the top tourism states in Nigeria:
- Lagos State is number one in stakeholder engagement. Throughout the lockdown period, Lagos tourism was at the height of engagement with the World Tourism Day Hybrid Conference as the high point of its relationships.
- Ekiti State is number one is destination promotion and policy roll out. And the state is where you have the meeting point of warm and cold spring in Ikogosi warm spring. The Abajonrin Hills is currently trending.
- Osun State: is home to the popular Osun Osogbo festival and culture and the popular Olumirin Waterfalls, Opa Oranmiyan, Owala Dam and Erin-Ijesa Waterfalls. It is home to great Ife, source of Yoruba civilisation.
- Plateau State: Is home to Assop falls and many other famous Falls. (The state also hosted NAFEST 2020)
- Oyo State: Idere Hills, Ado Awaye Lake and Ajayi Crowther birthplace makes the state stand out. Igbeti’s Hills is home to Iyamopo Hill and Agbele Rock formation in Oyo State. The state also has the famous Agodi gardens, University of Ibadan Zoological Garden and the Bower’s Tower among others.
- Akwa Ibom State: the Home of Itu waterfront,the Mary Slessor Heritage and Ikot Abasi Bridge of No Return amongst others has positioned this state. The very Successful Christmas Village was the height of the Yuletide celebrations. Akwa Ibom has 38 untapped islands along its coasts, spread across three LGAs. These includes, Parrot Island, Monkey island, Crab Republic among many more. The state is also home to the Itam Monkey sanctuary. The state has the longest continuous beach outline in West Africa.
- Kebbi State is known for Argungu Festival
- Bayelsa State
- Cross River State: Is where you have the famous Obudu Mountain Resort, Agbokim waterfalls, Cross River National Park, Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctaury, Alok Ikom Monoliths and is host to the biggest street carnival, Carnival Calabar.
- Rivers State: The state is popular for the Pleasure Park and numerous Riverine attractions