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A Treatise On Tourism In West Africa by pennyforthought: 8:34am On Aug 14, 2018
Africa has tourism potential. This is a fact that hasn't been lost on anyone that has seen the massive diversity of offerings the continent has. While political instability, economic misalignment and generally shitty policies have kept tourists away, the countries that have fixed these issues such as Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia and off late Kenya and Tanzania, have seen massive boosts in tourism. The simple thing is that people with money want to travel and they grow bored of visiting the same old places.

Morocco and Tunisia have promoted their rich culture, their unique position in Africa as Afro-Arab countries, their heritage and their plethora of exciting events since the 1960's. As a result they are extremely popular tourism destinations and draw millions of visitors each year. Tunisia hosts several music festivals that boost its popularity. South Africa already had a lot of stunning dutch culture, a blend of Europe and Africa, amazing nature and a host of fun activities such as wine tasting, sky diving, safari's etc. They especially leveraged these offerings during the world cup they hosted and as such have become Africa's second largest tourism destination.

More recently Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and even Uganda have taken advantage of their gorgeous nature and wildlife diversity and have heavily marketed themselves as Eco tourism destinations. Mozambique, blessed with a long coast has leveraged its amazing beaches to attract tourists.

However, West Africa, with the exception of Ghana has not been very successful at attracting tourists. While Morocco received 10 million tourists last year, South Africa received 8 million and Mozambique received 1.5 million, Nigeria only received 1.2 million tourists. Moreover, while Nigeria received more tourists than Kenya at 1.1 million or Ghana at 897,000, most of the tourists in Nigeria are those Nigerians that moved abroad and are visiting family in Nigeria. They thus tend to spend less than travelling tourists and is why Kenya and Ghana made twice as much tourism revenue as did Nigeria.

In my opinion Nigeria and West Africa in general has too many issues including security concerns, bad infrastructure and political issues for any one west African country to become a tourism powerhouse. Even Ghana, despite its position as the most stable West African country has been unable to attract many tourists. However, what West Africa can do is harness its unique position to create a tourism corridor. East has amazing nature and a still tribal people and North has Arab culture. However, we in the west, have amazing food, great music, a ton of different ethnic groups and a friendly and welcoming people. We can leverage this to create a West Africa party corridor. We can have agreements with our neighbors whereby tourists can fly into any West African country (or start from any West African country for domestic tourists) and travel up or down the corridor that links the most attractive cities in each country and they can do so visa free. We build good roads linking these cities and provide a low cost bus or rail service. The tourists can experience partying in Lagos, beaches in Ghana, Voodoo in Benin, weed in Sierra Leon, francophone culture in Senegal, architecture in Coat d Ivore and mountains and waterfalls in Guinea. All along the way they can meet and interact with people from diverse ethnic groups and tribes and they can get a true West African experience.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. What do Nairalanders think?

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