Cross River Government says it plans to make the state a tourism destination by generating N1.7 billion from the sector annually as part of effort to boost the state’s economy.
Mr Clement Umina, Managing Director of the State Tourism Bureau, said this on Wednesday at the celebration of the 2017 World Tourism Day in Calabar.
Umina said that the state could generate as much as N1.7 billion annually, through the industry, from one million tourists being envisaged to visit the state yearly.
He said that the state government was partnering with relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry in the state to achieve the target.
“As a tourism destination, the state could generate as much as N1.7 billion annually through the industry.
“We have set a target of one million tourists to come to Cross River yearly and we are discussing with stakeholders in the Tourism and Hospitality industry to ensure that this is realised.
“As a government, ours is to create the enabling environment for the industry to thrive and once this is done, we take-off from there,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Eric Anderson,Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, described tourism as the driving force of Cross River’s economy.
Anderson said that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Sustainable Tourism-a tool For Development,’’ was very important.
“When we say tourism, we are talking about a phenomenon of major importance that relates to involvement capacity.
“We are talking about the number of people; travelers and workers and the many benefits-social, cultural economic and spiritual- that it can bring to society.’’
He described Cross River as the tourism capital of Nigeria, adding that the state had played a very significant role in the tourism destination of the country.
“Nature has embellished and positioned our state as a melting pot of unique, fascinating and enhancing people with great sights, sound and historic relevance in the global destination market.
“From ancient practice to modern day activities, Cross River defines tourism, being the tourism capital of the nation”.
Contributing, Mr Charles Ogar, Chairman of Cross River Hoteliers Association said that apart from government, hospitality industry was the largest employers of labour in the state.
Newsmen report that the United Nations has sets Sept. 27 every year for the celebration of World Tourism Day to sustain the growth and development of tourism globally.