We are in an election year, preparing for 2023 polls that will define the fate of the nation. Many people are hurrying to secure visas and passports, with plans to travel internationally, should things go sideways next year.
While they will tell you their travel plans are totally unrelated to the politicking going on, we will tell you how totally related politics is to tourism.
The Strength of Our Passport
The most politically stable countries have the highest global passport index. The ranking is usually based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). We consider it a reference tool for global citizens and foreign states to assess their global mobility. E.g. Japan & Singapore rank highest with access to 192 visa-free countries, closely followed by Germany and South Korea with access to 190. While countries like Iraq and Afghanistan with political unrest, rank the lowest, 115 and 116 respectively, with visa-free access to 28th and 26 countries each. The last global passport index (the Henley Passport Index) taken in 2021 had Nigeria ranking at 103 with Ethiopia out of 199. Our passport only grants us access to 45 countries, most of which are reevaluating our visa-free stand with them. E.g. Just last week, Turkey removed Nigeria from their e-visa/Visa on arrival list. According to Dele Oye Esq, the Nigerian-Turkey Business Council Chairman, this is a temporal move caused by the recurrent terror attacks and recent jailbreak at Kuje Prison. He opined that the issue would be resolved soon. This sudden change in the Turkey visa application process did mess up the plans for those who had paid for holiday packages via a travel agent to Turkey.
World Tourism Ranking
Countries that are most desirable for tourism or as travel destinations have a more stable political climate. Tourists are more likely to come to your country if it is politically stable. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) put together the World Tourism Ranking to rate countries based on the number of international visitor arrivals; the revenue generated by inbound tourism, and the expenditures of outbound travellers.
According to Wikipedia, Europe and the Americas are the world’s most desirable places for tourism. According to World Data Info. Nigeria currently ranks 164th among the nations in the world as regards tourism and we are in the 8th position in West Africa. Also, political instability also affects the nation’s currency in relation to the Dollar (the most widely accepted international currency worldwide). The more unstable the country is, the more of its currency you will need to convert to dollars for international trades, travel or investments.
Politics is a game of numbers and democracy doesn’t always mean the best candidates will win. We believe people vote for the person that best represents their culture or belief systems. So if a nation that cuts corners sees a candidate that promises no cutting of corners, the majority will shun that candidate. And when your political choice reflects an image that cannot guarantee you a seat at the international table, be ready to receive the backlash of poor treatment by other governments or countries’ systems. Many Nigerians also forget that it is not only their politicians that represent the country.
When you travel out and you behave subpar, you are hindering the chances of other Nigerians to reach where you are. This is a case of the sins of the father falling on the children. How either group behaves when they travel will affect everyone, regardless. So let’s always keep in mind that we are all ambassadors of this Nation and we need leaders who reflect our values as a people.
In case you have been wondering, political stability is the propensity of a government to collapse either because of conflicts or rampant competition between various political parties. What we are basically saying is what happens internally in our political sphere within Nigeria can affect domestic and International travel directly.
World Bank Blog
Henley Passport IndexFeatured Image Source: Visit Nigeria Now
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