Travelling for sports events is an opportunity that Nigerians are yet to leverage on despite playing host to several tournaments over the years.
Some notable games include the 1973 and 2003-Lagos-All African Games, African Nations Cup, 1980 & 2000, Under 17 championships, 2009 and throngs of other sports events which have had little or no impact on the hospitality industry.
Considering the returns from sports tourism in other climes, Nigeria has a monumental advantage in exploring and exploiting sports tourism to boost her hospitality industry.
For example, Brazil which hosted the 2014 World Cup added 7.5 billion Brazilian Real (BRL) to the economy with tourism being a key contributor, an estimated 1 million foreigners visited the country and 95% of them said they will love to return for holidays.
The attributed reasons for this include Brazil’s scenic beaches, vibrant musical culture and its vast amazon rain forest according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile for previous world cups, South Africa welcomed 310,000 tourists and Germany accommodated 2 million.
These figures simply reveal how massive the contribution of sports can multiply the growth of Nigeria’s hospitality industry and the economy. With this platform, states like Ekiti, Jos, and Kwara, with tourism endowments will possibly achieve a certain degree of financial autonomy.
To encourage the government to host international sports tourneys and ensure it takes advantage of it, Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal shares 3 ways sports tourism can boost the hospitality industry in Nigeria.
Development of tourist destination
The near dilapidated state of Nigeria’s tourism sites have headlined stakeholder’s meetings and tourism seminars. They have called on the government at both the Federal and state level to revamp these amazing sites which cut across Nigeria. With Nigeria hosting a sports events, monies will be budgeted to develop these destinations to attract tourists and the ripple effect will be felt in the hospitality sector.
The question Nigerians should ask is why nations battle, banter and clog one another to win bids so as to host international tourney despite the global economic crises?
Simple-the economic returns is massive. The Hospitality sector contributes a large chunk of the returns during a sports tourney. It follows that if the government develops these destinations, tourists will visit and be willing to part with their naira, dollars and pounds. Included in this is the production of souvenirs and other marketing cum promotional items leading to a geometric rise in hotel bookings and revenues.
These sports tourneys are opportunities for hotels and hospitality companies to put their brand in the face of their target audience. They can produce jingles, commercials and other public relations tools which oftentimes go a long way in impacting perception and patronage.