It is erroneously believed that there are a few job opportunities in the travel and tourism industry. But the industry can actually help reduce the plague of unemployment in the country.
By Lola Daniyan (Unravelling Nigeria)
As at today, unemployment is one of the leading problems in Nigeria. The rate of unemployment seems to rise every year and it looks like there is no solution on the horizon.
It can be argued that as a result of the high rate of unemployment, youths have resorted to fraud, armed robbery, terrorism, cultism and even kidnapping. You hear kidnappers say things like ‘I studied engineering, but there’s no work in the country’. Statements like that are disheartening.
Tourism is a very large and dynamic industry in today’s economy and one of the fastest in the world. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is expecting the sector‘s global economy to provide 296 million jobs by 2019. This is because tourism provides jobs both directly and indirectly.
It’s a little wonder why you see various travel and tourism related businesses springing up recently.
The travel industry offers a plethora of empowerment options that spread far beyond just organizing trips.
These jobs range from operational to managerial jobs. Here are some of them
- Tour Guides
This is a job that tourism provides directly and we don’t have to look further than the locals in the area to take up this role. Recently I went to Erin-Ijesha waterfalls, Osun state and it was breathtaking however there was no one to show us around or give a bit of history about the place. We were left to figure out how to get to the top of the waterfalls on our own, which is very dangerous considering its steepness. This was a huge contrast to the Osun grove where someone took us round and spoke to us about the place.
Some local inhabitants know these places very well as these are stories that have been passed on from generation to generation, why not train them and allow them earn a living and positively contribute to the society and economy? This includes park attendants or wardens who could care for places like the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi state.
This is a two part job. Tourists are known for buying souvenirs in the countries that they visit. A lot of artisans are available in Nigeria and if shops are set up in strategic points at tourist attractions, their works could be purchased in these shops. Individuals could also be trained on how to make these souvenirs. Souvenirs could be sculptures, jewelry, art and other things relating to Nigeria. As for the shops, well someone needs to be hired to run it. This also encourages entrepreneurship.
- Tour package sales
This involves the designing, advertising and selling of information pertaining to tourist destinations in the country, which will cover accommodation, fun activities, services, etc. This job is very complex because it will require various departments, marketing, human resources, customer services etc. They could also organize trips, expeditions, transport and any other thing the customer requires.
Accommodation is an integral part of tourism. Lodges, hotels, bed & breakfasts, resorts all require staff. From general managers to housekeeping, this sector has the ability to create over a 100 jobs due to the various departments that make up the accommodation sector.
Everyone needs to eat, could be in a fancy restaurant or fast food. It doesn’t matter. Restaurants create jobs in the form of cooks, waitresses, supervisors, accountants & utility staff.
This is very important because even though English is a universal language, there are still people who can’t speak it. People will come who do not understand the local dialect. Interpreters come in very handy as they help to translate what is being said. These translations could be to Igbo, French or even Mandarin. Rumor has it interpreters are paid well so this isn’t a bad job.
- Travel writers/photography
In this part of the world, this isn’t very famous yet but it is catching on. People with photography skills/writing skills are being paid to research, write and take pictures of tourist attractions that are available like I am currently doing.
There are a lot of jobs in the tourism industry and it is possible to find something for everyone to do. The jobs listed above are not exhaustive. In the tourism industry, pilots are important, accountants will be needed, sales & marketing, vet doctors to care for the animals in the wildlife parks, managers, lifeguards, Public relations agents, Quality assurance agents, hotel owners, park contractors, drivers and so much more.
As we can see these jobs include entry level jobs, skilled/technical jobs and entrepreneurial jobs so thinking that only certain jobs are available in tourism is false.
While providing jobs for the unemployed, it takes the youths off the streets and will go a long in reducing crimes and criminality in the country while at the same time boosting our economy. If we hope to reduce the rate of unemployment in our country, we need to start looking at other industries and tourism isn’t a bad place to start.