July 20, (THEWILL) – Special Adviser on Tourism to the Oyo State Governor, Hon. Ademola Ige, has reassured the state’s determination to partner with the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), in order to actualise the tourism agenda of Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration of Oyo State.
Speaking during the visit, Hon. Ige, who was elated at the seriousness of FTAN to collaborate with the Oyo State Government on achieving its robust tourism agenda, said the visit will be an effective mechanism to make the state’s tourism alliance bring rapid results.
He said that the visit was indeed timely, as it came when Oyo State is preparing for the 2022 World Tourism Day Celebration slated for September 27. According to Ige, “World Tourism Day is a special day set aside by the state to celebrate and promote the rich tourism potentials Oyo State is blessed with.”
The SA on Tourism to Oyo State Governor, who drew inference from the call by the Vice President, south west FTAN, Mr Tunde Kolade and Dr Tokunbo Dagunduro, who jointly emphasised the need for a stand-alone state culture and tourism ministry to give the industry a pragmatic voice, saw it as a way for tourism to have a structural and visible attention to effectively make a difference in the state economy.
“It is true that we must separate culture and tourism from the ministry of Information, to make it a full fledged ministry, so that it can take care of its core and allied tourism sectors with all other value chains of the industry getting the right attention.
On the FTAN request for the inclusion of the federation members into the state tourism board, the SA to the governor on tourism said it was necessary, as this will give room for a round peg in a round hole, where the core stakeholders (experts on tourism advisory) will be on ground to meet minds and share ideas that will guide the government to actualise tourism goals for the benefit of the state.
“All these grey areas you have highlighted have been taken into consideration and in turn I will see ways to discuss it with Governor Seyi Makinde and I assure you that the government will look into the requests and get back to you on the state conclusion.”
Earlier, while setting the tone during the courtesy visit, the Oyo State Coordinator for FTAN, Mr Wale Olapade, who spoke with great optimism, highlighted the need for a public and private sector alliance, to effectively promote and strategically position the state as the pace setter in tourism potentialities, as well as creating avenue of mutual benefit for the federation and Oyo state government.
Olapade, who said that there is more to collaboration than just the initial statement, called on the state to see FTAN as a partner in progress in the agenda to give tourism its rightful place as a money spinner and job creation avenue that boosts the economic bid of Governor Mankinde.
He reminded the state of the priority space Oyo state plays in the nation’s tourism ranking, adding that the state has different first in terms of tangible and intangible potential, as well as manmade and natural tourism sites to give it a standout place and called for a new narrative to promote it.
He called on the administration of Governor Makinde to set the ball rolling by creating a new narrative for the state, by using what the state has to position the state globally, adding that Ado Awaye suspended lake, which is being tagged as second in the world, is the only natural site of such in the world, while the western stereotype of naming a manmade suspended lake in Colorado, USA, as the first is a wrong narrative, calling Oyo state to endeavour to take its rightful place by telling its story itself.
The Vice President, FTAN, South West, Mr Tunde Kolade, commended the leadership style of Governor Makinde, who has systematically given a soft landing to the tourism value chain industry through different positive developments in the transportation, road, aviation sector and other areas of economic interest. He also advocated a standalone tourism ministry to give the tourism industry an enviable voice in the state.
He said that the purpose of the visit was to express desire to solicit partnership with the government for the promotion of tourism sector in the state, so as to use their practical experience as core industry stakeholders to meet mind with the state government on workable tourism projections and programmes that will not only be economic, but also people-driven.
The FTAN Coordinator for Osun State, Dr Tokunbo Dagunduro, who spoke of candour, commended the SA tourism to Governor Makinde for his down-to-earth devotion to the promotion tourism, but said that much cannot be achieved with his portfolio and called for the creation of a separate tourism and culture ministry in Oyo State to effectively give the industry a pride of place in the state economic ecosystem.
Also speaking during the visit, the Ondo State Coordinator for FTAN, Erelu Funmi Rotiba, who commended Hon. Ige for his listening ears and practical commitment said the SA on Tourism to Governor Makinde has on different occasions, rallied support for deliberate visit to promote different tourism sites in Oyo State and sees his zeal as genuine as that of the governor in taking tourism to the next level.
“We need more involvement of the private sector in the tourism business of the state, so that we can strategically package the state for a better tourist patronage, in a way that it will positively tell the story in our own way.”