Monday, February 6, 2023

Malaysians, Indonesians seeking to market Nigeria complain visa too expensive

“It was such a difficult task for us to get our visas to come here. Nigeria needs to be more organised. Good infrastructure should be put in place at tourism destinations.

• September 7, 2022

On Tuesday, a team of Malaysian and Indonesian tourists visited tourism sites in Lagos to market the destinations to intending tourists in their countries and attract investors. Their verdict: Nigeria needs to be more organised and its tourist visa too expensive.

Some destinations they visited in Lagos were Terra Kulture, Nike Art Gallery, Lekki Conservation Centre, Freedom Park, National Museum and Makoko Seafood Market.

The tourists are Gan Hong, Lee Sei Loong, Wong Chong Wah from Malaysia; as well as Ong Bie Lian and Tjung Tjeng Tjin from Indonesia. The head of the team, Mr Loong from Malaysia, said Nigeria was chosen as a place to visit because it was known as the most famous African country.

Mr Loong described Nigeria as a beautiful country, rich in culture and history. He said his visit had partially changed his negative impression about the country as a destination without security, overcrowded and with the problem of traffic congestion.

“Nigeria is truly a place to be, but the country must work on rebranding its tourism sites. Adequate information needs to be provided at each tourism destination to further educate visiting tourists,” said Mr Loong.

He shared his challenges visiting Nigeria, citing the cumbersome process of acquiring a Nigerian visa at a high cost. According to him, a Nigerian visa was the most expensive to acquire compared to other countries he had visited.

“It was such a difficult task for us to get our visas to come here. Nigeria needs to be more organised. Good infrastructure should be put in place at tourism destinations. I look forward to coming back soon to witness the Eyo festival,” he said.

He said the team’s visit to Africa included Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Liberia, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.

Mr Loong added that at the end of the visits, they would have been knowledgeable enough to sell any destination in those countries to tourists across the globe.

Olugbenga Adebayo, Gadeshire Travels and Tours managing director, who packaged the tour, revealed the challenges encountered.

Mr Adebayo said he experienced problems with tourist visa procurement and avoidable protocols at various tourist destinations and advised the federal government to have more friendly policies to encourage tour operators in marketing Nigeria as a tourism destination.

He also mentioned that there was also a need for the locals to be educated on the essence of showing hospitality to tourists. 

The tourists, who had visited several African countries, also planned to visit Ghana and Liberia for the same purposes soon.


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