The Synagogue Church of All Nations [SCOAN] has directed intending visitors to the church headquarters at Ikotun Egbe, a suburb in Lagos State Nigeria to always check on the church website [www.scoan.org] for information regarding scheduled activities before their visitation.
This directive, according to the church’s management is to give visitors accurate and detailed information as to enable them to fully participate in mapped out church activities.
The church, which has created a culture of putting together annual programmes for believers who wish to seek the face of God through praise and worship, expects a mammoth crowd of worshipers from within the country, Africa and all over the world who long to have their spiritual and religious needs met.
The directive also, in essence, would assist the church in crowd control management to ensure that visitors have a hitch-free spiritual fulfilment so that God’s blessings are showered on them, especially during the various events.
Meanwhile, the hotel and tourism industry in Nigeria, despite myriads of challenges confronting it, still has a lot to offer the economy through the inflow of these foreign visitors to the country.
Though challenges ranging from the erratic power supply, inability to pay staff wages, high taxation and some government poor policies, among others, have weighed down the industry.
However, in the light of all these, religious tourism alone is one area that needs not to be neglected considering the gigantic number of pilgrim tourists it attracts into the country.
So far, the SCOAN has been accounting for this large crowd of religious tourists into Nigeria from across the world. In the whole of Africa, the church has been outstanding in that aspect.
The question would then be, where would these visitors stay on arriving, if there is no well-structured hospitality sector and enough hotels to accommodate them? This, therefore, calls for the government to provide an enabling environment to enable the private sector to develop.
In addition, if other big churches in Nigeria such as the Redeemed Christian Church of God [RCCG], Winners Chapel, Mountain of Fire Ministry, Christ Embassy, The Lord’s Chosen and others could do as much as SCOAN is currently doing with regards to inward surge of religious tourists, one could imagine the enormous revenue this would generate for the country. But unfortunately, that is not the case.
Rather, the movements of the large crowd of worshippers of these other big churches are confined to local visitors within the country, in which case, their members hardly stay in hotels, even when they do, it would be for two or three days that their events would last.
Compare this with foreign visitors, who would stay for up to a week or more; even move around within the country for sightseeing and spending money buying local products. This is no small way helps the economy with the foreign exchange that they come with.