Tourism as an agent of development, leads to a lot of benefit‟s, Nigeria as a country richly endowed with a wide range of cultural and natural resource‟s relative to other nation‟s in Africa and on a global level, most of which are largely untapped. There are many approaches to assess these resource potentials of which studies have been done in some parts of the world. but despite the availability of these potentials in Kaduna state, the level of tourist influx still remains low, which forms the basis of this study, to assess the tourism potentials, there challenges and prospects in Kaduna state. Opinion‟s of experienced tourist, experts in different fields of study, were sampled with questionnaires at different potential spot‟s to cover the three geographical zones of the state. Data were collected and analyzed using weighted sum model (WSM), through ranking and scaling techniques. The outcomes suggest major shortcomings are traced to inadequate infrastructures, funding, advertisement, and insecurity in these potentials among others. The study determine the potential values of different potentials site‟s, and proposes clustering of the tourist spots to enhanced their potentials values and made recommendations to improve the industry in other to boost tourism industry in the state.
The profitability of international tourism industry has garnered widespread recognition of tourism as a promising development agent for developing countries. Throughout the past fifty years, tourism has rapidly spread and has emerged as a major export sector in many countries (UNWTO, 2007). The decision to adopt tourism as an agent of development has been largely based on the expectation that tourism can:(a) increased foreign exchange earnings,(b) create employment,(c) attract foreign investment, and(d) positively contribute to local economic and the national balance of payments (Sharply and Telfair, 2002). In other cases it has been said that tourism is turned to as a last option by countries that lack extractable resources, are burdened by foreign debt, and rely on international aid (Brown, 1998).
Kaduna state richly endowed with a wide range of natural and cultural resources relative to other state in Nigeria and on a global level most of which are largely untapped. These resource‟s fall into protected ecosystems (game reserves and recreational parks), protected landscapes or natural sceneries, cultural sites, coastline, traditional festival and historic relics and monuments (Okechuku, 1990 and Okoli 2001).Kaduna state tourism resources are highly distributed from the south-northern part of Kaduna, which has a geo-cultural pattern, (Okoli 2001).
The availability of these potentials has made the development of tourism industry to undergo a gradual evolution, which each phase reflecting its growing importance in the economy. Despite all these economic, political, cultural and social benefits, tourism development has not been strong politically in Nigeria, especially in Kaduna state.
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