ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE REGULATION OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
Nigeria like other micro economies heavily dependent on petroleum, and sometimes Agriculture had to explore alternatives to grow its Gross Domestic Product as a result of fluctuations in oil price and effects of climate change on agriculture .Since the country have geographical landscapes with clusters of potentially endowed tourism sites coupled, with increase in disposal income, demand for leisure the Government took the initiative to prioritize Tourism and Hospitality as one of its options for economic diversification. The tourism industry is a non-production and multifaceted economic inlet that has linkages with other sectors of the economy culminating in increased opportunities and relationships requiring proper management. In order to maximize benefits from these linkages, Nigeria like many other countries developed policies, plans and laws which defined scope, functions of tourism and hospitality institutions, as well as rights accruable to consumers and suppliers of tourism products .The enactment of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act is a product of Nigeria‟s commitment to develop its tourism sector and ensure compliance to regulatory guidelines.In analyzing the Nigeria Tourism industry, this research adopted both the doctrinal and empirical Research method. In the former, primary and secondary documents like the Nigerian Constitution, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act and other legislations that impinged on the affairs of the industry were examined while in the later, questionnaires, response to telephone interviews and emails were used to generate statistical data from both private and public sector.The findings of this research revealed, extremely awareness of tourism and its legislation. apparent conflict between the position of the Constitution and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act on grading, classification and regulation of tourism establishments and institutions despite a Supreme Court decision that altered the prior position. This research further revealed that in spite of government‟s efforts the country was yet to derive sufficient benefits to make it compete favorably with other countries who have similarly regulated their tourism and hospitality industry. There is dearth of information on the activities of the sector and low level of awareness by the populace. This research recommended an urgent presentation of a bill to review/amend these area of conflict,improve funding for the use of established tourism institutions, increase public awareness and encourage the introduction of tourism and hospitality at all levels of the Nigerian schools. It is optimistic that these remedies amongst other will ensure future growth of the Nigeria‟s Tourism and Hospitality industry.
1.1 Background to the Study
Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress.According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, (UNWTO) tourism sector ranks fifth after fuel, chemicals, and automobile products in many economies in the world.1 The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); also reported, that tourism generates more than 230 million jobs directly and indirectly and contributes to more than 10% of world gross domestic product (GDP) this accounts for USD 5000 trillion United State dollars which gives it a global economic significance.2Hitherto, tourism was seen not only as an aspect of culture, but also as a manifestation of naturally endowed potentials both in concrete and abstract, located within a community or society through which it entertains and enhances its members‟ living condition. By so doing, it indirectly creates an enabling environment that attracts local and foreign investors through whom the society concerned generates revenue, creates employment opportunities and meets the requirements for economic growth and development3.
In line with this concept, Egypt over the centuries, became a notable tourists‟ destination that captivated the attention of the world4. While,United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabiis today reputed to be amongst the world‟s wealthiest countrie sbecause of the development and vibrant gains recorded in its tourism and hospitality industry 5where it recordeda Gross Domestic Product(GDP) put at nearly $100 Billion.This gave its population of just 1.463 million people a total per capita GDP that exceeds $68,0006 making the country‟s development comparable to what is obtainable in countries like USA and UK.The Tourism Industry has also significantly contributed to the Gross Domestic Products of countries like Kenya, Gambia, South Africa and Ghana in Sub Saharan Africa. These empirical analysis of the benefits of tourism has encouraged many countries to developed tourism policy for purposes of strengthening their tourism industry7. The question to ask is why has Nigeria not made this list?
Up to the 60s, and prior to the discovery of oil, Nigeria was a major exporter of cocoa palm oil, rubber and groundnut, but by the year 2000, Eighty percent (80%) ofits revenue was derived from crude oil alone. For example, from a total revenue of about N3.915.56 billion derived in June 2008, the proportion from crude oil alone was N3, 133.00 billion – an indication of over dependence on oil revenue.The exhaustible nature of petroleum oil, characterized by run out of reserves, instability and price fluctuations, are presently manipulating the global oil market to the disadvantage of major oil producers especially, the developing countries of the world. In the same way the uncertainty in agriculture characterized, by climate change, flood, drought and diseases (like the recent tomatoes blight that affected its production and usage across the country) amongst other challenges have made economic diversification a necessary alternative for developing the Nigerian economy8.
With a current population made up of about 184.23 million people9 consisting of 300 ethnic groups, a vast land of about One million Square meters, a beautiful coastland of about 835km, a rich diversity of cultural and ecological resources, it appears that the Nigeria is destined to indeed be the “Giant” of Africa as far as tourism is concerned.10 But in spite of the abundance of resources, the country has recorded little or no revenue from tourism. The general perception from available research attributes this pitfall in revenue generation from the tourism industry to inefficient institutional framework, low disposable income to pursue tourism activities, insecurity, lack of political will that will ensure implementation of tourism regulations and policy and lack of awareness of the benefits of the sector amongst other challenges.
Nigeria has similarly lost the relics of most of its physical and cultural monuments to the impact of colonialism. This has led to abject neglect of local tourism related activities like – cultural shows, drama, fairs , exhibitions , festivities, dances, souvenirs carvings, weavings sculptures and amongst others and facilities like- national parks, game reserves (many people did not know that the Sambisa forest, which became the enclave of Boko-Haram Terrorists activities was in fact one of Nigeria‟s forest reserve), beaches , plateau, forestry developments, natural sports, hotel accommodation, hostels , parks, conferences, guest houses, camps catering services and increased desire for outbound tourism by the affluent in the society11.
In order to revamp its Tourism and Hospitality Industry and to showcase the life style and creativity of its people, the Nigerian Government developed a number of its landmarks into tourists‟ sites, and made tourism one of six priority areas central to the revival of the economy and a cardinal stone for achieving the country‟s 7 –point Agenda, its vision 20:20:20 programmer and as a Foreign Direct Investment earner12. The aim was to attain competitive sustainable tourism development within the confines of the world tourism market and open up Nigeria as a major tourist destination in Africa13. To achieve this, the thrust of government legislation on Tourism became directed at capitalizing on the heritage diversity that will make Nigeria a regional hub for integrating all blacks particularly those of Nigerian extraction14. Hence the enactment of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act15 to regulate the activities of the sector.
The development of Tourism and Hospitality industry often raises such issues like protection of premises, food liability, franchising, employment, management contracts, and many other daily occurrences raising new trends and issues that have necessitated, constant review of laws, and rapid emergence of related legislation16. The need to define the framework for efficient management of the sector, has made it imperative to identify forces which influences the overall performance of the industry. It is regrettable, that even in the face of the Supreme Court‟s judgment in AG Federation vs. AG Lagos State17where the jurisdiction to legislate on tourism and charge tax consumption on tourism institutions was reversed in favor of the Lagos state government, the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act (NTDC)18 has till date not been amended to capture the impact of this landmark judgment that put to rest, one of the fundamental issues affecting the legal framework of the industry.
Tourism like other forms of economic activity, takes place in an environment that is shaped by different forces. One of the most important of these forces is exerted by a complex web of policies, laws, regulation and other actions of government. Therefore, the businesses that provide tourism services , must contend with actions of different levels within a government and of a variety of types of laws and regulations aimed at different industries and activities that stretch not only across nations and regions, but across traditional lines of business and industry as well19.
To be competitive, a country‟s law must address the different issues that arise in its tourism and Hospitality industry. This will include generating guidelines and objectives for the growth and management of tourism and hospitality business. This is because, to a large extent, it is the constituent of a policy framework on tourism, which determines the attendant socio-economic benefit that will accrue to investment in this business sector20.
The substratum and focus of the present research work, is to encourage government, to create an enabling environment to encourage a necessary reform and review of existing regulatory and institutional framework on tourism so that the country and its people can benefit from many of its untapped tourism potential and propel the expected growth of the industry towards economic diversification.
ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE REGULATION OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem which necessitated this research werethat:
- Nigeria has neither been able to generate sufficient revenue nor competefavorably with countries like Kenya, South Africa, Dubai and Egypt amongst others despite the abundance of tourism potential, legislation and institutions.
- The lack of political will by government toimplement objectives of the Nigerian, National Tourism Policy (NTP) and recommendations in the TourismDevelopment Master Plan (TDMP)
- The apparent conflict between the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution21 and the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act22 with regards to grading, classification and regulation of tourism and hospitality outfits and establishments and the continued use of obsolete tourism related legislations23
- The effect of inefficient manpower, institutional decayand lack of public awareness that has affected efficient service delivery in the tourism and hospitality industry.
These issues amongst others has raised questions on the effectiveness of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act and initiated doubts on the competence and recognition of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation as the country‟s agency for the development of the Tourism and Hospitality sector24.
The above problems have necessitated the need to find answers for thefollowing pertinent research questions.
- Why has Nigeria failed to compete favorably with its counterpart in deriving maximum benefits from it tourism an and hospitality industry
- What is the current position of the Nigerian Constitution vis –avizthe Nigerian Tourism
Development Corporation Act?What are the prospects and challenges if any in the implementation and enforcement of the legal framework of tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria?
- Its effects on Federal and State Government with regards to classification, grading and regulation of the tourism and hospitality Industry?
- How efficient are established tourism institutions in the discharge of their statutory obligations andclamor to promote the development of a robust Tourism and Hospitality business in Nigeria?
- Does the NTDC Act comply with Nigeria‟s various obligations under international law?
1.3 Aimsand Objective of the Research
The aim of this research includes to:
- Examine the adequacy or otherwise of the existing rules or laws on tourism in Nigeria
- Improve public awareness on tourism activities and legislations especially the Tourism Development Corporation Act (NTDC Act)25 and encourage improve holiday culture and patronage of local/inbound tourism by Nigerians at home and in diaspora.
- Facilitate anecessary review of the legal and institutional framework of the tourism and hospitality industry for the purpose of economic diversification.
While the objectives of this dissertation includes to:
- To critically examine the constitutional scope and limitations of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act as delivered in the Supreme Court „sJudgment in Ag. Lagos State vs. Ag. Federation on the tier of government that legislatively empowered to register, classify, gradeandregulate tourism establishments and outfits in Nigeria.
- To encourage a review of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act26and other tourism related legislations so as to remove impediments to tourism activities in Nigeria.
- To encourage government to increase funding to the tourism and hospitality sector and establish a tourism investment bank that will provide long tenure and low interest loans for participants while creating additional job opportunities for the Nigerian populace and improve earnings for government.
It is hopeful that achieving the above objectives will enable a much awaited review of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act and related legislation, as well as pave way to revamp decayed tourism institutions and their activities in ways that will avail Nigeria the opportunity to succeed as a major player in international tourism and hospitality services and contribute to the objective of diversifying the economy.
Recommended: THE CONCEPT OF SOVEREIGNTY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: ISSUES CHALLENGES AND LESSONS FOR NIGERIA
1.4 Justification of the Research.
The rationale for this research work is that existing legal and institutional framework did not provide the enabling environment and facilities for tourism development in Nigeria.Thus encouraging the review of the existing legal and institutional framework of the tourism and hospitality industry to incorporate facilities and services that ensure tourism comfort at destinationand to also encourage the provision of a one Stop Centre which synergize the relationship between the law- The NTDC Act and the Regulator (NTDC) and at the same time allow Nigeria to efficiently utilize tourism not only as a tool for sustainable development but asan instrument of social, economic empowerment and poverty eradication.
1.5 Significance of the Research
This research is significant as a legal study on the Nigeria Tourism Industry. Itexamined the Nigeria Tourism Development Act and related legislations that impinges on the activities of the industry in a bid to remove legal impediments to participation andinvestment intourism at the Local, State and Federal Level.
It will also assist legislators in the National and State Houses of assemblies to sponsorBills relevant to the review of identified statutorylapses inthe Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act, as well as other obsolete legislations that may affect the future of tourism and Hospitality management and development inNigeria.
This research is a reference material on Hospitality and Tourism Law to improve public awareness and enlightenment on various laws affecting the Tourism and hospitality industry and encourage private /publicinvestment, partnership and sustainability of the industry. Theresearch further highlight grey areas affecting the Tourism and Hospitality industry and galvanize Government to embark on necessary reforms that will invigorate Nigeria‟ s image as a tourist hub and investment opportunity. The cumulative effect of this work is the positiveprojection of Nigerian tourism and hospitality‟s legal and institutional image in the global tourism Market and encourage inbound tourism for purpose of economic diversification, creation of employment opportunities and increase Gross Domestic Product.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Research
The scope of this research isthe legal and institutional framework of the tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria. The Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and NTDC Act as relevant to the activities of the sector 27 are critically espoused. The extent of Nigeria‟s compliance to 28 existing policy on tourism and other obligations under various international treaties in the industry are also previewed. These issues are carefully considered to suggest laws relevant to the future development of the Nigerian tourism and hospitality industry.
This research was limited by difficulty in assessing materials that has specific relevance to tourism law and legislations and the reluctance of people and some practitioners in the affected Ministries to provide information that will have assisted this work. The lack of awareness of the activities of the tourism industry in the sampled areas also hindered the data collection because many of questionnaire distributed for purposes of assessing information on this research were either not completed orreturned as a result of inability of respondent toprovide answers to the issues raised therein.
1.7 Research Methodology
The research was descriptive and made use of both the doctrinal and empiricalmethod. This included the use of qualitative data drawn from both secondary and primary documents. Primary documents like the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation Act, State Edicts Licensing laws, Tax laws, Hotel Registration were consulted and relevant sections applied. The secondary materials, included inductive inquiry and case analysis based on written documents. Most of these written documents contain voluminous data from the website, portals, and survey report from the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and other relevant government agencies, and books written by both foreign and local writers as well as unpublished materials from workshops organized by the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Newspapers and statistical data relevant to the hospitality and tourism industry were also considered and consulted.
To investigate the extent of public awareness of tourism regulation and policy in Nigeria, questionnaire, e-mail and telephone conversations29 were adopted as method for data collection Five hundred questionnaires were circulated amongst practicing lawyers, final year law students, Staff of Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the public at two of the International Airports in the country (NnamdiAzikwe and Murtala Mohammed International Airports). Thedata collated was used to verify the extent of stakeholder and public knowledge of tourism,tourist site in their locality, institutions responsible for its management, and laws guiding the activities of the industry.
ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE REGULATION OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
1.8 Literature Review
The paucity of knowledge on tourism as well as of the rules guiding activities of the Tourism and Hospitality industry makes it an evolving and relatively new practice area to the legal profession30. Many of the existing literature on tourism and hospitality emphasized the principles of sustainable tourism development with only brief mention of the regulation in some cases .Most of such works emanated from the developed world31. The present work compliments while distinguishing some literature on the legal and institutional framework of tourism and hospitality industry in Nigeria.
Pengilley32 sheds some light on this area when he adumbrated that “Except in the case of specific regulatory legislation such as the licensing of travel agents, for example, there is no such thing as “one cap fits all” in the law of tourism and hospitality. Hefurther, explainedthat the law speaks in terms of general principles and one has to adapt such general principles to specific fact situations. For instance law of competition, contract, and law of consumer protection are all applicable in the tourism industry33. Invaluable as Pengilley‟s work would appear, it does not contemplate Nigeria in its scope. This is because no specific mention of these area of law as it relates to the Nigerian Tourism Industry was made in the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act.
A leading author on tourism in Nigeria Munzalli34 in one of his works, alluded that the pillar of effective tourism operation is legislation.35 He added that creating a legal framework is essential because most of the existing laws need to be reviewed with appropriate enforcement machinery that will ensure the development of Nigeria as a preferred tourist destination.36 Taking a cue from the position of this Nigerian Author this research, is focused in its intent to pave way for an encompassing and holistic future review of tourism Law in Nigeria.
According to Gamble37, for tourism to become a key growth area of the state economy, government of both developed and undeveloped countries have taken initiatives to evolve laws to ease the transfer of money in and out of the country, providing tax incentives for investors, restricting the rights of trade unions, speeding up the processes of planning, land purchase and ease political stability. The private sector on its apart has been providing money used in building hotels, amusement parks, telecommunication, transportation, recreational centers and supporting infrastructural development. All these are aimed at increasing export and stimulating tourism industry.38
Adumbrating the importance of legislation to tourism development, Theaand Jennifer,opined that the travel and tourism regulatory framework is one of the three variables that facilitate or drive the travel and tourism competitiveness of a country .The others are the travel and tourism business environment and infrastructure; and the travel and tourism human, cultural, and natural resources39. These have also formedthe focusof some literature. For instance , Kenya has one of the most far reaching piece of legislation regarding conservation which is titled “Environmental Management and Coordination Act”, which creates a framework for the management of not only the environment, but of ways in which industry can interact with the environment40.
In furtherance of this, Eja E.I et al 41asserted that allowing private sector to participate in tourism development, will appreciably improve the financial standing and developmental strides of the public sector (government). This research, partly agrees with these learned authors on the need to improve public private partnership in tourism development but the reality is that tourism development has always been from top – bottom rather than in the reverse order in most economies across the globe. Nigeria is not an exception. That is to say tourism development has always been at government level to the exclusion and detriment of private participation. The emphasis is encouraging private sector investment in not just the hotel and travel business, but in the establishment of amusement parks, family vacation, resorts and outdoor games facilities. Doing this will hasten tourism development in Nigeria.
Robinsonnoted that the economic significance of tourism, can be seen from income accruing from the actual expenditure involved in tourism and its effects on the products of other industries in meeting the demands of tourists42.This work adumbrates the opinion of this writer in the sense that tourism is an interlinked and multi-faceted industry with a seamless interaction of actors and participant involved in tourism activities.
John Lea opined that the primary economic benefits of tourism are generally regarded as contributions of foreign exchange earnings and the balance of payments, the generation of employment and of income, the improvement of economic structure and the encouragement of entrepreneurial activity43.It is the opinion of this writer that tourism benefits transcend the physical as it includes the appreciation of the aesthetics and scenic view of natural environments, the restfulness that accompany it and the integrationof social and cultural values of countries across the globe.
Shurmann opined that the most common argument in favor of promoting tourism is the anticipated foreign exchange profit especially where a country lacks an efficient export oriented agricultural sector of any significance44. The opinion of this writer is rife, but then, developing inbound tourism can also generate the same benefit as international tourism. At the same time encouraging a resource mix of agriculture and tourism will enhance a country‟s economy rather than sacrificing one at the altar of the other.
In a further contribution, Atherton45explains that tourism “products”- as he calls it- is a mixture of many components, all of which are stand –alone units by themselves . Thus tourism law is the epitome of an interdisciplinary field. Although one cannot but appreciate the opinion of this writer, he failed to articulate the integrated nature of tourism product. This work will bring to bear that the multidisciplinary nature of tourism preclude lack of clear-cut distinctions that make tourism products: “stand –alone” units as opined by the learned author. Thus tourism regulation must by extension be all encompassing to allow the flexibility of covering all related tourism activities.
It is further pertinent to note that tourism is characterized by interpretations that are conflicting46.Past and contemporary writers endeavor to arrive at a single definition to the subject. Their efforts/attempts however resulted in different understanding and idea of the concept of tourism. For example, Leonard 47 defined tourism is an activity which cuts across conventional sectors in the economy. It requires input of economic, social, cultural and environmental nature. In this sense, it is often described as being multifaceted”. Tourism is described here as an “industry”. This definition is however riddled with faults, this is because tourism does not have the usual formal production function and output capable of physical measurements like tons of meat, and liter of whisky or beverages -as is the practice in agriculture.
Burkeet –al48 defined Tourism as “the phenomenon arising from temporary visits (or stay away from home) outside the normal place of residence for any other reason than furthering an occupation, remunerated from within the place visited”. This definition is more comprehensive than the former ones since, it focused on leisure, relaxation, recreation, amusement and excludes business trip. This implies that tourism is not static, but associated with thesearch for pleasure. The problem with this definition, is that the writer neglected business trips. After all, tourists go on business trips and that does not mean leisure time. Hence limiting tourism to leisure time is inappropriate.
The International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) maintained that “Tourism is the sum total of the phenomenon and relationships arising from travel and stay of non- residents in so far as they do not lead to permanent residency and not connected with earning activity”49. In its definition of tourism The World Tourism Organization50similarly maintained that Tourism refers to all activities of visitor, including both tourists (overnight visitors) and same day visitors.
There are ambiguities in these definitions. Firstly, the concept makes it impossible to identify tourism between countries as well as tourism within a country. Secondly, the nature of activities of the visitors overnight and the day were not differentiated. The activities may include legitimate activities like leisure, sport, and illegitimate activities like burgling a house, vandalizing infrastructure. It could include economic activities business and other purposes. It may be extra –motive i.e. to assassinate and loot property belonging to people. Evil people alsotravel far even if not in the spirit of tourism. Thus contrary to the provision of Global Ethics for Tourism (GCET)51 which provides that the tourism industry is expected to take appropriate measure to ensure the health , safety and security of tourists by giving complete and honest information on destination. Most tourists are unaware of the potential risks in their destination and are therefore ignorant or passive in their response to emergencies arising from unexpected security situationslike the bombing of the UN headquarter in Abuja and various other sites across the country and the world like the USA terrorist attack52. Many other related cases that will be examined in the course of this Research.
This proliferation of definitions amongst researchers‟ remains one of the most frustrating aspects of studying tourism. It is the position of this research that security consideration should be made a necessary component in the content definition of tourism. This is because security is an area for which the highlighted works have not spared any serious consideration. A properly secured, regulated and institutionalized tourism destination will be a haven for consumers of its products and also generate greater economic growth for the country.
Even though Tourism is now a constant feature in international literature, the legal aspect of tourism, that is Tourism Law has received minimal attention from Nigerian writers except for one53.Most of the definitions of tourism are related to the generally accepted concept in the industry without the inclusion and appreciation of cultural and moral values which are indicative of distinctiveness of Nigeria as a nation.
Some of these definitions include,Baggio54who defined tourism destination “as a geographical location with a pattern of attractions, facilities and services which tourists visit. This work agrees in part with the opinion of Baggio and other Western authorswriter to an extent that same is only applicable to Europeans who appreciate the scenic nature of environment and do not mind spending their entire savings on annual holiday to enjoy the beauty of such surroundings. This work will show case that thequest to develop tourism in Nigeria is mostly purpose driven i.e. religious, educational or to visit relatives for social events or for sport. Thus the geographical landscape is the least of reasons to spur a Nigerian/African to embark on a trip to a tourist destinationwhether for a short or long period as proffered by the content definition of tourism. Probably because nature is present in the foothold of every African home from cockcrow till dawn itis thereforeneedless to spend an entire life saving on „geography „that is readily available apart of a daily routine. Little wonders then that Africans or to be more specific- Nigerians hardly go on vacation!
According to Eja et al,55many countries see tourism as a means to promote a good and relatively inexpensive strategy that can attract foreign Direct Investment. The present research disagrees completely with this opinion on the premise that, developing a viable tourism industry, that will generate sufficient Foreign Direct Investment and adequate return on investments requires overhauling the existing legal and institutional frame work as well as train the manpower necessary to drive the industry, this no doubt will require more than an inexpensive strategy (emphasis mine) as opined by the learned authors.
On his part Ayodele56 opined, that Tourism is a tool for economic empowerment and poverty eradication. Although this is a cardinal objective of government‟s involvement in the tourism and hospitality industry as encapsulated in the tourism policy, but unfortunately one that has not met the required expectations bearing in mind the abject neglect and level of poverty of most tourist sites/communities in Nigeria.
Most evolving literature on tourism, stresses that luxury is the new standard and hotels around the globe are feverishly elevating their room stock to match the need of new breed of discriminating guests. This however does not apply to the Nigerian hospitality industry as can be seen from the deplorable state of some of the hotels in semi urban and some urban areas in the country and bearing in mind the conflict of hotel registrations‟ and grading between the federal and state governments. While considering the determinant of a competitive tourism industry, the UNWTO57, categorized the variables that facilitate and drive the tourism competitiveness of a country into three; that is, the travel and tourism regulatory framework, the travel and tourism business environment and infrastructure, and the travel and tourism human, cultural and natural resources58. Nigeria‟s performance on the tourism Competitive Index is sufficient evidence of the failure of its tourism sector to make deliverables on its various policies.
On his part Okoli59 opined, that travel and tourism regulatory framework captures those elements that are policy related and generally under the purview of the government and that this includes rules and regulations, environmental sustainability, safety and security, health and hygiene and prioritization of the travel and tourism60. This research will highlight defects in legislations as well as cultural values that have led to Nigeria‟s low rating in the Competiveness Index of its Hospitality and Tourism industry.
According to Esu B.B et al61Suppliers of tourism services products compete in volume in the quality of tourists they attract and retain. The competition may be between or amongst destination in the region or different countries. He added that destinations that cannot survive the competition usually suffer from reduced or lack of patronage with its attendant consequences. The destination that offers tourists‟ greater satisfaction has a competitive edge over the other destinations62. Although this writers‟ opinion summarizes the realism of the problems that has stymied the development of Nigerian tourism industry. This research is nonethelessan attempt to identify reforms to revolutionize the legal framework and related activities of the industry.
In a similar vein, Njoku, opined that in tourism business, the demand factors are those things that enhance the desire for tourism products and services, theseinclude quality of sectoral management, the state of development of national security, the international reputation of the nation amongstothers. While the supply factors are the variety of attractions present in the tourism market. These are arts, the cultural programs, availability and the quality of game reserves. From the analysis, the supply angle is richly developed. But the position of this paper, is that though supply angle are available in the Nigerian tourism industry, but many of them are not readily accessible due to poor road networks and other constraints too numerous to mention63.
In a related development, Bello and Adebayo64 opined that safety and security are critical factors determining the competitiveness of a country‟s travel and tourism industry and that tourists and tourism investors are likely to be deterred from travelling to, or, investing in a country perceived to be insecure. The present research reiterates that if appropriate machinery is put in place to implement tourism regulations it would improve the sense of security for both investor and consumers of tourism products.
Wanhill65similarly observed, that there are local and global forces representing historical, political, economic, socio-cultural and technological factors that influence thetourism sector, and the interplay of these forces (environmental determinants) is the maincause of the sector‟s heterogeneity. The opinion of this writer is laudable for it maybe the requisite explanation for the government„s inability to implement the 1976 tourism policy66. The failure of which was hithertoattributed to scarcity of funds, poor staffing and lack of significant autonomy and policy guidelines to operate. The present writer humbly submit that failure to appreciate the interplay of theheterogeneity of tourism had hindered the then Tourism Board from carrying out tasks a factor that also robbed Nigeria from deriving the inherent benefits from the potentials in its tourism sector67.
Getz, on his part defined tourism planning as a process based on research and evaluation, which seeks to optimize the potential contributions of tourism to human welfare and environmental quality. He insisted that development plans at national, or state levels should be made with tourism in mind- in other words, industrial and economic planning should integrate facilities that will ensure sustainability of the human tourism industry68. Although the learned author „s suggestion is laudable but the present writer is of the opinion that such future projections for tourism planning should be aimed at preventing incidences of land grab, forced displacement, as well as abuse and molestation of vulnerable individuals/communities in the attempt of enforcing governments‟ rights to acquire landfor development69. This will prevent unlawful alienation of community/individual right to peaceful enjoyment of their environment.
An overview of literature so far considered, points in the direction of the immeasurable values and benefits that the development of tourism and hospitality will bring to bear as an alternative resource earner to petroleum. The snag is when an industry is of benefit to a nation, it is imperative to put in place legislations and institutions that will guide its activities. This is with a view of encouraging Governments at different level, as well as communities, corporate organizations and wealthy individuals to invest and strategize on ways of improving existing legal and institutional frameworks of the industry.
To achieve this, relevant Bills and review of existing legislation on tourism must be sponsored and pursued to the level of acceptance and enactment by the National Assembly. Such enactment must have provisions that will revamp the composition of Tourism Ministries and Boards with membership drawn from interest groups and stakeholders. This will encourage greater commitment that will lead to compliance to regulation and improve supervision and close monitoring of the activities and management of tourist sites in conformity with acceptable global standards and predetermined tourism development goals.70
Umoh andNdu71 supported this assertion when they emphasized that the Nigerian tourism industry boasts of potentials capable of generating significant investments towards economic development. These potentials are however undeveloped as several factors militate against them. For instance, contrary to Government‟s policy that it will encourage investment in tourism through the grantof financial incentive to participants in the sector by giving tax relief and exemptions, stakeholders such as hotel operators still face multiple taxation from federal state and local Government. This rendered nugatory the intent of the policy.
ANALYSIS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE REGULATION OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA
1.9 Organizational layout
This research is divided into seven chapters. Chapter One is the introduction chapter and cover the aim, statement of the problem, objective of the research, the research questions, research methodology and literature review. Chapter Two focused on conceptual exploration, history and development of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry. While the third chapter discussed the legal and institutional framework, for the regulation of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry in Nigeria. In the fourth chapter, attempt was made to examine problems militating against the development of the industry. Chapter five examined the impact of the lack of security on the Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Chapter Six discusses the data collected from questionnaires and interview sessions and analyzed the research findings. While Chapter seven presented the concluding remarks and recommendations to this research.