Having a financial institution lead the discourse on tourism in Nigeria is the new chapter for tourism success story in the most populous black nation.
Cross-sectoral collaboration is essential for tourism and economic development in Nigeria.
Sterling Bank entered the industry at a time when the tourism business was at the crossroads. The global impact of COVID-19, the general economic downturn, increasing travel costs within Africa, and specific challenges in Nigeria such as, lack of access to tourism spots, security concerns, and inadequate infrastructure and enabling environment had demoralized industry practitioners, especially tour operators. Moreover, the government’s focus on oil has resulted in inadequate attention to tourism, leading corporates and financial institutions to view tourism in Nigeria as a non-viable venture.
Against this backdrop, Sterling Bank took a bold step by announcing a 5 billion Naira intervention fund during a web conference titled “Cross-Sectoral Collaboration for tourism and Economic Development” organised by Goge Africa during the lock down in 2020 (see link watch video below)
The fund is to support the growth and development of tourism in Nigeria. The announcement was a game-changer!
It generated immediate interest in the Nigerian tourism sector, gave hope to tourism practitioners, encouraged more people to enter the tourism space, and motivated tourism practitioners to structure their businesses to meet the requirements for accessing support from Sterling Bank. Furthermore, other financial institutions began to take a closer look at tourism as a potential investment opportunity.
When we launched Goge Africa in 1999, it was a significant challenge to capture the attention of corporate entities. Financial institutions, in particular, seemed uninterested in our endeavors. Therefore, we cannot overstate our excitement regarding the recent developments in our industry.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, the esteemed leader at Sterling Bank, for his visionary guidance. We appreciate his belief in the immense potential of tourism to bridge communities, celebrate diverse cultures, and drive sustainable economic growth.
During the Sterling Bank’s WTD event themed “Tourism for Green Investment,” I had the privilege of sitting alongside my boss, Amb. Isaac Moses, and witnessing the enlightening discussions. It was a profoundly fulfilling experience.
To all the dedicated stakeholders in the tourism sector, we extend our warmest congratulations! Your commitment and hard work are truly commendable. We express our gratitude to Sterling Bank for their support and partnership.