While Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, its economy has suffered a major setback because of the recent decline in oil prices.
The country is now rethinking its strategies in cashing in revenue within the tourism industry being touted as a panacea to slow growth and its depreciating naira.
The state of Bauchi, northeast of the country, even though is an area targeted by Boko Haram insurgents, is home to Yankari National Park where the initiative to attract more tourists was launched.
Most people in previous administrations were much more interested in lining their pockets. But Bauchi's governor is looking for a way to seriously put Yankari on the world map
According to AFP, the national reserve holds some 300 elephants, various exotic bird species and crystal-clear warm springs of 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 Fahrenheit) all year round.
80% of trips to Africa constitutes wildlife watching, data provided by African Development Bank in October last year shows visits by international tourists generates a total $36 billion.
“Most people in previous administrations were much more interested in lining their pockets. But Bauchi’s governor is looking for a way to seriously put Yankari on the world map,” said a local resident.
The Boko Haram insurgency, which has raged throughout northeast Nigeria since 2009, leaving at least 17,000 dead, is not a direct threat to the Nigerian park, nevertheless, it has frightened visitors from making the journey north.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has also resulted in cancelled trips across the whole continent.