as Alaghdaro summit holds session on tourism
By Jimoh Babatunde
EDO State government is developing a tourism masterplan that will provide clear guidelines for the participation of the various levels of government and the private sector in tourism.
It is the belief of the government that the clear delineation of roles will unlock the potential in the sector and attract domestic and international investments through the development of large unspoilt water bodies criss-crossing the state.
This is why tourism, culture and arts will form a major plank of the forthcoming Alaghodaro Investment Summit being put together by the state government as the government recognises the power of tourism in transforming lives and the environment.
Power of tourism
Speaking at the 2017 World Tourism Day, marked in Benin City recently, Governor Obaseki said: “We have the best climate for investments in flora and fauna (ecotourism); zoo, green parks, gardens and wildlife parks. Our location in Nigeria is strategic as you can access any part of the country with ease by land, water or air and we have clearly one of the richest cultures which is a major source of pride to Edo people.
“Our creative ingenuity has for centuries, found expression in our bronze works, carvings, sculpture, rhythmic dance steps, oral tradition, highly sought after songs and chants and dress designs. These prized heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears will be repackaged for additional global appeal and foreign exchange receipts.
Governor Obaseki said the institutional framework of the tourism masterplan will support the ranking and grading of hotels, restaurants, and other recreation and leisure places, to compete favourably with similar facilities in the best tourist destinations across the world.
“Our vision for the Arts, Culture and Tourism sector is to develop the huge arts, culture and tourism assets that abound in Edo State up to international standards.
Tourism is the highest employer of labour, providing one in every ten jobs globally according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).”
While noting that tourism is a major instrument for environmental preservation and conservation and a major source of revenue through domestic and international tourist receipts, he disclosed that the popular Benin Moat will be developed for tourist earnings and jobs, while the annual Okpekpe Mountain Race that is fast growing in popularity and ratings among sports enthusiasts, was receiving a boost.
Other areas currently receiving attention in the state to pave way for a robust tourism sector is the sanitisation of the intra-city transport system which used to be very chaotic.
“The revamp of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA), the ongoing adjustments of passengers’ pick up and drop off points by taxis and buses in the state and the removal of barriers to free movement in Benin City are deliberate measures taken by our administration to deliver a socially sane city and prepare the state for the execution of the state’s transport master plan.
“Edo is ripe and ready for investors who are searching for a safe investment haven. Alaghodaro Investment Summit has a special session on the arts, culture and tourism sector and we urge you to join us in the development conversations,” he said.