As the Akwa Ibom State Government formally unveils the ARISE agenda, the governor of the state, Umo Eno, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to review its national policy on tourism. At a summit, which was to be tagged “Ibom Dialogue,” the state was to assemble experts and critical stakeholders to work out modalities for the implementation of the agenda. The agenda comprises Agricultural Revolution, Rural Development, Infrastructural Maintenance/Advancement, Security Management, and Educational Advancement.
Eno announced this on July 15, 2023, while addressing worshipers at the July edition of Government House monthly prayer summit held at Latter House Chapel, Government House, Uyo. He said that he had specifically reached out to the stakeholders in key sectors of development to converge for the summit scheduled for July 24-27, 2023. The governor said that the summit would be void of political undertones as it is intended to bring the people of the state together to dissect the key components of his administration’s ARISE agenda blueprint, situate them in proper perspective, examine available roadmaps with a view to determining how best to achieve its goals.
A review of the national policy is sought by the governor at FTAN meeting.
At the formal unveiling of this agenda, he said that the plan seeks to grow the industry through an enhanced infrastructure base which entails significant investments in upgrading and developing its infrastructure in the state. According to the state government, other agendas that it wants to implement include: sustainable initiatives, cultural heritage preservation, destination marketing and promotion, and community involvement and empowerment. The governor believes that the state is poised to become a premier tourist destination that offers breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture and unforgettable experiences.
The governor spoke as a special guest during the 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) with the theme, “Tourism Today and Tomorrow: Setting the Agenda for the New Administration.” At the meeting held on July 20, 2023 at the NICON Luxury Hotel in Abuja, Governor Eno noted that a review of the country’s National Policy on Tourism would engender growth and fast track infrastructure development needed for operators and stakeholders alike to reap bountifully from the sector.
There must be quality infrastructure for development to happen.
Nonetheless, he posited that amending existing tourism laws must be accelerated for sporadic development in the sector. He said that the global globetrotting industry is not stagnant but growing and evolving with the speed of light. Thus, Nigeria cannot afford to run the country’s sector using archaic models. “We must tailor our legal framework to encourage investments in the sector, existing laws must be reviewed and new ones enacted to encourage direct foreign investments and the participation of more local investors in the sector,” he said.
For instance, the challenge of insecurity must be tackled. Insecurity and tourism development are mutually exclusive everywhere in the world. So, Nigeria must work diligently toward building a reputation of a safe and secure tourist destination to attract more visitors and even investors to the country. Additionally, building of quality infrastructure must underpin this development. He stated that a national culture in support of this industry must be created and adhered to by all. The industry in Dubai is largely driven by quality infrastructure, for example. That is why the signature of excellence must be unmistakable in the country’s airports, roads, seaports, railways and others.
This will result in the creation of jobs and enablement of growth.
Overall, Governor Eno said that the Federal Government should aggressively sensitize Nigerians on attitudinal change for the development of this industry so much so that we should be ranked the best in the world in hospitality. While Nigerians are unarguably very hospitable people, he said that the people can do better. It is about being intentional about the image that the people project to the rest of the world. Finally, he said that this would bring about job creation and huge growth, as millions of Nigerian youths would be gainfully engaged.
Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria: Website