Alaghodaro Summit: Edo state identifies 58 tourist sites for development
The Edo State Government said it has identified over 58 tourist sites within the state, of which if properly developed and repositioned, will contribute in the creation of 200, 000 jobs target. This was coming in the heels of the planned Alaghodaro Investment Summit coming up in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, between November 10 and 12.
The forum would serve to project and market the destinations for potential public/private sectors development.
To provide the administrative framework for a more robust tourism sector, the chairman, organising committee of the Summit, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, said a tourism master plan is in the making and on completion, will provide clear guidelines for the participation of the various levels of government at the federal, state and local.
He noted that institutional framework of the tourism master plan will support the ranking and grading of our hotels, restaurants, and other recreation and leisure places, to compete favourably with similar facilities in the best tourist destinations across the world.
According to him, the role of the private sector would also be highlighted, and enabling environment created, so that the state will receive its share of the over $1trillion revenue accruing to tourist destinations annually.
Some of the tourist products and sites, the Professor listed, include the popular Benin Moat, Igue Festival, Igbabonelimi Masquerade, Aba Festival and the annual Okpekpe Mountain Race.
He said, “The popular Benin Moat will be developed for tourist earnings and jobs, the annual Okpekpe Mountain Race that is fast growing in popularity and rating among sports enthusiasts, is receiving a boost.
“Also, the large unspoilt water bodies criss-crossing the state, namely Orhionmwon, Ovia, Ogba, Ikpboba and other rivers in Edo central and North Senatorial Districts are to be developed into world class beaches.”
According to him, experts believe that the clear delineation of roles will unlock the potential in the sector and attract domestic and international investments.
“The annual Igue Festival, Igbabonelimi Masquerade, Aba Festival and other festivals will get their fair share of our new deal for the sector to attract more tourists to the state.”
The Prof added that the State’s vision for the arts, culture and tourism sector is to develop huge assets that abound in Edo State to international standard.
“Tourism is the highest employer of labour, providing one in every aspect 10 jobs globally according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
“It is a major instrument for environmental preservation and conservation as well as a major source of revenue through domestic and international tourist receipts.
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