This article examines and assesses the neglected development of a viable and sustainable tourism industry in Nigeria, and its adverse effect on the economy and the country in general. The article also analyses the factors responsible for the neglect of the industry and why Nigeria failed to generate substantial revenues from tourism despite the great potential. The article argues that Nigeria had potentials from independence in 1960 to present day and missed so many opportunities to develop a viable and sustainable tourism industry. The article further argues that for more than twenty-eight years, the military governments entrenched avarice, corruption, insecurity, indiscipline, tribalism, nepotism, and overdependence on oil revenues, which negatively disrupted tourism development and the overall growth and development of the nation. The civilian governments did not do better than the military; they were not serious and concentrated on the oil revenue at the detriment of other economic sectors including tourism. It is concluded here that there is still an opportunity to reverse the loss, but serious effort has to be made for it to be archived.
Key words: Nigeria, tourism, economic development, military rule, corruption.
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