By Ikechi Uko
The Dubai Epidemic happened this year.
This year should be unprecedented for Dubai. They crushed every other destination for Nigerians these last months.
In the last 2 weeks all tour Operators were either in Dubai or organising a package to Dubai.
Why did Dubai succeed so well so much so that some foolish pickpockets flew all the way to Dubai to steal from a Bureau De Change in full view of CCTV cameras?
First credit is that Dubai has a lot to offer Nigerians.
Dubai is easy to go to and very cheap. 4 star packages can top just over $1000 for 3 nights plus flight ticket.
Dubai visa is max 48 hours, easy.
Dubai has marketed like mad. 3-city Roadshow and huge outing at Akwaaba African Travel Market. Involved in Events and Movies. The Dubai team had hired a super smart NigeriaNigeria, Kalanne Fubara with links and network to drill down.
There are about 32 flights a day from Nigeria that finds its way to Dubai the access is huge.
Other destinations dropped the ball. South Africa was the growing counter for Nigerian New money but shambolic Visa processes and bad press on account of attacks on Nigerians in South Africa seeks to wipe away 5 years of hardwork by South African Tourism in Nigeria. South African Tourism have had a great template but it’s job is being eroded big time. They need to retool and hope for some help from its embassy and media to reverse the trend.
Gambia was growing in Nigeria in the last 12 months until Air Senegal started operations and stopped the 5th Freedom rights of Air Peace and other Airlines between Banjul and Dakar. Air Peace had to change Equipment to service only Banjul.
Tanzania and its beautiful island of Zanzibar was becoming the go to place for young Tour Operators until it changed suddenly the Visa processes for Nigerians. TZ scrapped Visa on Arrival all of a sudden and Trapped some Nigerians on the wrong side of the law.
Ghana was going to be the biggest Beneficiary but it’s hotels are priced in Dollars and compared to other destinations was becoming a little pricey for Nigerians.
Rwanda is still a big draw from Nigerian families. It is benefiting from the diversion from South Africa. Ethiopia is pushing very strong.
Summer is coming and if nothing is done by other destinations Dubai might be overflowing with Nigerian families.
The recession has ebbed and family travels is coming back so Summer will tell a story of it’s own.
Domestic travel that has been on an ascendancy since 2017 suffered a huge blow with the Kajuru killings. Let’s hope the Nigerian Tour Operators do not give up on Domestic destinations.
I congratulate Dubai for a good run So far. I expect a fight back from.others soon.