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Enugu Govt unveils plan for World Tourism Day 2020, woos investors for partnership

Enugu State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Ugonna Ibe speaking during the press conference

The Enugu State Government has called on international and local investors to take advantage of the states naturally endowed attractive tourist sites.

The state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Ugonna Ibe, made this call in Enugu during a press conference to announce the state’s line-up activities for World Tourism Day 2020 which was organised by the state Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and i-Tour Africa.

Ibe said that the state government was ready to assist any potential investor in the tourism sector, adding “we are also open to Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) with any investor to develop these tourism potentials”

According to him, the tight security has been put in place by His Excellency, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the homely nature of our people and communities makes Enugu State number one tourist destination in Nigeria.

The commissioner noted that Enugu State occupies a strategic position in the country being the capital of the old Eastern region and with a rich historical culture “making it a place to be for leisure and tourism’’.

Ibe noted the state was richly endowed with natural resources such as hills, beaches, rivers, blue-deep lakes, fine waterfalls, caves and clean streams and springs (cold and hot) yearning for investment.

According to him, these gifts of nature in their natural and virgin states are virtually found in many communities in the state.

“The tourism sites are: Ezeagu tourism complex; Udi range of hills – Milikin-Hill, Onyema-Hill etc; Awhum falls; Opi chain of eight lakes; and Oji, Ajali, Duru, Ebonyi and Ezu Nmamu Rivers.

“We also have Nyaba, Akwuke and Ekulu beaches that can challenge any modern coastal beach anywhere in the world.

“Again, the Obinofia, Akpugoeze and Awa mangrove-tropical forests infested with Bezier wild lives and the Odoro Achi hot lake to mention but a few. These eco-beauties are what nature presents to us that desire harnessing,’’ he said.

The commissioner noted that there were other historic landmarks that had been identified but not harnessed, such as the relics of Okpogho Oghe/Legga Nsukka iron smelting and the Ugwu-Uto Pyramid of Nsude among others.

“These landmarks have been tested through carbon dating and found that they dated over 3,000 years ago. This proves that technology existed here in the state even before the western countries,’’ he said.

Ibe said that the state government had been desirous to build its diversification from oil dependent economy to tourism-based economy; where a lot of local people would be employed through services they render to tourists.

The Zonal Coordinator NTDC SouthEast  Mrs Annette Chioma Ibe, added that the Federal Government is more than ever committed to harness Nigeria’s abundant touristic potentials in a bid to diversify our economy. He reiterated the need for synergy between stakeholders in the industry especially the public and private sectors. She said that the partnership between Federal and State government in this direction will help sustain some of the achievements recorded so far.

Speaking, the Founder of iTour Africa, Mr Wilson Uche Ugwu, lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the security and peace his leadership had brought to the state, which had singled Enugu State as ‘a first-rate tourists destination’

Ugwu said that his organisation was partnering the state through the ministry to “restart tourism and give it a pride of place in the socio-economic polity of the state’’.

“We have a line of activities, which will culminate on the World Tourism Day being Sept. 27. First is this particular press conference.

“We are billed to conduct the first tourism road walk/show in Enugu metropolis otherwise called the `coal city’ on Sept. 26.

“On the D-day, Sept. 27; there will be a tourism carnival and a carnival ride from Enugu metropolis to Ezeagu Waterfalls. Where people will view and feel the natural beauty of the Ezeagu Waterfalls.

“We will be having curators that will educate us more on the Waterfalls; other current and historical things concerning Ezeagu and Enugu State people in general,’’ he said.

Ugwu, however, said that the lined-up events would adhere strictly to the COVID-19 Protocols to ensure health safety of all.

The World Tourism Day is celebrated yearly on Sept. 27; while this year’s theme is “Tourism and Rural Development’’.

About the author

Adewale Adenrele Muhideen

Journalist ,PR, Researcher, Culture and Tourism promoter, Business Development Consultant.

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