Benin Market Research Study

Developing a Strategy to Attract an Increasing Number of Nigerian Visitors

  • Client: PCCI - Projet de Compétitivité et de Croissance Intégrée
  • Partners: The World Bank
  • Project Duration: March 2015 – May 2015

Project Overview

Tourism represents the second most lucrative industry of Benin’s economy in addition in addition to serving as the third largest source of employment. To increase this pillar of the country’s economic development strategy, Solimar developed a business plan featuring a strategy for Benin to attract more Nigerian visitors.

Tourism stakeholders in Benin have targeted increasing the number of tourist arrivals from Nigeria as Nigeria represents the largest market of foreign visitors to Benin. In addition, Nigerians traveling outside of their borders spend roughly $4 billion annually and 4.4% of that total is in Benin.

Although Benin welcomed more than 209,000 visitors in 2011, it occupies the 130th spot out of 140 countries in the travel and tourism competitiveness rankings by the World Economic Forum. Benin’s ability to attract a larger number of Nigerian visitors is hindered for several reasons, including expensive air transport and impassable roads, a language barrier and substandard tourism infrastructure.

The goal of the project was to outline a strategy for the government of Benin to strengthen the business climate to promote the development of tourism, invest in tourism infrastructure improvements, develop the private sector to promote job creation through tourism and enhance the links between the tourism industry and the national economy.

Major Activities

  • Conduct comprehensive surveys of 2,000 potential Nigerian tourists that have never visited Benin. The surveys were conducted of travelers at Lagos Airport en route to African countries similar to Benin and data was analyzed to understand why Nigerians travel to such countries, the type of services and infrastructure they plan to use, travel frequency, reason for traveling, reason for traveling, the length of their stay and expecting spending, their impression and willingness to travel to Benin.
  • Solimar also sent an online survey to each Nigerian travel agency that promotes travel to Benin. Those surveys gathered data that helped the team understand the demand for travel to Benin and what difficulties travel agencies face when they to promote Benin.
  • Exit surveys of Nigerian visitors to Benin were also conducted to gather data on information such as the length of their stay in Benin, locations visited, satisfaction levels with tourism products and services and average daily expenditure.


  • Based on the survey results, developed a marketing plan to attract segments of Nigerian travelers that (a) identifies five specific segments to target and features information about their profiles (b) list the products to be developed for each segment and the timeframe for their completion (c) outlines the promotional actions for each segment (d) states the needs of tour operators, travel agents and conference and event organizers to better promote Benin as a destination to Nigerians.
  • A growth in visitor arrivals over the next five years in each of the targeted segments
  • Increased investment in the tourism industry in Benin

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“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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