Intra Sports Tourism In Nigeria: It's Now Or Never
Almost 60 years of being a nation has proven that good times do not do a good job in helping us think straight. This is why I hope oil never picks up again, until we are compelled to diversify our economy. Now, kindly direct your attention to the trophy in the image below. That’s a trophy presented to Old Calabar Golf Club in 1900. For the benefit of hindsight, please note that: Manchester United is 142 years old Barcelona FC is 120yrs old, Arsenal FC is 134 years old, Real Madrid is 118 years old. These are some of the top stadiums where we experience stadium tours and pay about £20 each. Museums are major part of installations we sightsee at these stadiums. In fact, many of them charge for access to their museums separately. These stadia receive a minimum of 10,000 visitors on stadium tours, on an annual basis. Of course the revenue from this doesn’t rival naming rights, tv rights, hospitality/grade a, b, c tickets, merchandising etc., but they will not declare their profit without adding revenue from the former. May I also mention that 40% of memorabilia sales occur during stadium tours. Old Calabar Golf Club which metamorphosed into a multi section sports club today known as Calabar Sports Club is about 130yrs old. My point is that the oldest trophies or any other memorabilia in the installations at the aforementioned clubs cannot be older than the trophy below, up to 20yrs. As a matter of fact, the trophy is two years older than Real Madrid as an entity. It is age mates with Barcelona FC. Why then do we leave this trophy and others in the The Calabar Sports Club gallery, Lord Lugard’s fairway woods/golf shoes at the museum In Kogi and polo museum at the palace of Emir of Katsina; while we patronize foreign ones? Let me not pretend not to know why. I know. I also have a theory. It’s time to hone the commercial value of all that we have Our stadia need to once again become hallowed grounds, not ones desecrated by archaic cow grazing. We need to keep them in great shape and carry their brand well. My people on the street say ‘see finish no good o’. Our sporting facilities need to have the carriage of Wembley and Emirates. It is carriage that makes Etihad Stadium to charge £100 per person, for those who desire to get wedded on their property, especially on the pitch. They charge as much as £30,000 for other events. Those who pay such amount hallow the property. In the webinars I’ve joined including the one African Sports Tourism Week in partnership with World Sports Tourism Council hosted; thought leaders have suggested domestic tourism as low hanging fruits to survive on, till normalcy returns. Nothing will make sports or sports tourism go away, because sport is a major form of human expression, however, unsustainable business models in both sports and tourism will be knocked aside. It is time to talk to ourselves. I know you earned your money. Nobody gave it to you. But think about this way, if you travel NIGERIA and buy Nigeria, that money has potential of circulating within, return to you in a different form and/or benefit someone you hold dear in your heart. Friends, relatives, neighbors, fellow countrymen. According to UNWTO, tourism account for 1 out of every 10 jobs in the world. That your neighbor that owns a restaurant/mama put or drives Uber/taxi is one of those been fed by tourism/travel and its value chain. Same applies to your relative in the village who sells handcrafts and even bottled or pure water on the road to or at the site of a tourism attraction. Aside the fulfillment and happiness traveling gives; except you have business concerns in those countries; the money you spend there does not return to you nor benefit your loved ones. You have only enriched another country and people. Nigeria has the best football stadium in the whole of west and central Africa. Nigeria is home to the best golf Resort in West Africa. They are both in Uyo. Nigeria has the best equestrian and ranching property in Africa, after South Africa. It is sitting on Maraban-Jos, Kaduna. I am taking about FIFTH CHUKKER Polo & Country Club. It is time to travel Nigeria. Attend that league match. You are contributing to Nigeria by so doing. Don’t be the proverbial son who describes his father’s house, pointing at it, with the left finger.
Prince Deji Ajomale-McWord is the President of African Sports Tourism Week and a principal partner at MPG Luxury Sports. Deji writes from Lagos. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org