Enemuo OB and Dim-Jacob MP
This research evaluated the influence of visa restrictions on the choice of travel destination among academic and senior staff of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU). The travel and tourism industry has witnessed a lot of restrictions imposed by nation-states for various reasons, while a hot debate rages among scholars of the positive and negative influences restrictions have on tourism destinations, this study tried to understand the to what extent the restrictions influence the choice of travel destinations among academic and senior staff of MOUAU. Guided by three research questions, the research tried to apply the Random Utility Maximization (RUM) model to sample respondents’ opinions. Data for the study was collected using a twenty item structured questionnaire which made use of simple descriptive statistics and a four-point scale. Simple frequency percentage and mean statistics were used to analyze the data generated by the research. The findings of the analysis proved that even though there are various forms of visa restrictions experienced by the academic and senior staff of MOUAU, these restrictions are not really considered by the respondents when choosing their travel destinations. The study found out that visa denials, being allowed limited time within the host country, outrageous visa requirement(s) and ineligibility to apply were the major forms of visa restrictions experienced among the academic and senior staff of MOUAU. The study also found security, curbing illegal immigration, wrong application format, ineligibility and incomplete information as the main causes of the restrictions experienced. Analysis of the mean response of respondents on the suggested ways of minimizing visa restrictions experienced indicated that respondents generally agreed that making visa application process and requirement open, orientating visa officials towards a pro-tourism approach, reducing visa issuance criteria, devising other means of securing a country other than travel restrictions and developing an international standard for visa issuance were ways of minimizing the forms of visa restrictions experienced. The study finally tried to make suggestions and recommendations on carrying out more studies to understand other factors which influence to a greater extent the choice of travel destinations among travelers in general. The work also recommends carrying out a similar study on a different social group in order to verify its findings.