Glamour, Assurance As Oyo State Holds First International Tourism Summit

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, Chairperson of the Occasion, Chief Onikepo Akande and Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Lola Ade-John

It was an exciting and very entertaining moment at the prestigious International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan located in the capital of Oyo State, venue of the first International Tourism Summit put together by the state Ministry of Culture of Tourism under the commissionership of Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun in collaboration with .

The epoch making event, which was put together to attract investors and tourists all over the world, was to showcase the cultural diversity and tourism potentials and harness them for socio-economic development.

Former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke, Governor Seyi Makinde, Minister of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, Deputy Governor, Bayo Lawal and Chief Onikepo Akande at the Summit

The two-day summit, which was characterized by presentations, panel discussions, documentary, exhibition and demonstration of various cultural heritages each zone of the state is blessed with, was tagged #ITSOYOSTATE 2024.

Giving the assurance of his government to the potential investors and tourists, the state Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, expressed readiness to partner with investors to unlock the tourism potentials of the state.

He promised to support and work with relevant stakeholders and foster the partnership that would lead to sustainable development and guarantee the success of their investments.

Speaking on the theme, “Repositioning Tourism as a Drive for Sustainable Development in Oyo State,” Governor Makinde stressed that his administration had focused on the interconnectivity of all zones, thereby attracting tourists to the sites and creating enabling environment for tourism to thrive and also deepen the experience for business travellers.

Assuring that his government will fix the roads leading to Ikere Gorge Dam and Eruwa Agribusiness Hub soon, as investors have shown the readiness to develop the sites, the governor said the state will unlock the tourism potential of the state by working with local communities to project the sites.

He noted that much opportunities exist in the tourism sector, which can lead to prosperity if properly harnessed, adding that there are six major sites of development in the state, namely, Cultural Centre, Ibadan; Bower’s Tower, Eleyele Waterfront, Idere Hills, Iyake suspended lake and Iyamapo Hills.

While appreciating all delegates, investors and participants present at the event, Governor Makinde assured them of securing their investments.

“When you hear the title of the presentation, the key word you can quickly identify is unlocking. I always tell people that Nigeria has the potential and we have to unlock it to be able to realise the benefits from those potentials.

“The investors have their money for their investment and on the other side is profit. So, the question always is what will be the Return on Investment, RoI.

“Without the right key to unlock the potential they are seeking, they will not gain access to the expected benefit. So, in this presentation, I will share the keys that unlock tourism potentials in Oyo State.

“Various speakers discuss partnership opportunities in Oyo State and outline what the state has to offer. But it is one thing to know what the state has and quite another thing to access it. So, what is this key? Well, it is a partnership.”

Expatiating on this, the Governor said, “There are three types of partnership you can find in Oyo State. The first one is Public Private Partnership; Public Development Partnership, PDP, and the Hybrid Partnership. How do these work? We have commissioned investment advisors to create a document that will show the investment opportunities and projections and we are also prepared to take a deep dive into those investments.

“In the first instance, we have six tourism sites in Category A including the Ibadan Cultural Centre, Bower’s Tower, Eleyele Water Front, Idanre Hill, Iyamapo Hill, Iyake Suspended Lake.

“We have done our homework and we have the figures. As you may already know, we do have expectations for these sites and destinations. For example, our minimum expectation is that the Ibadan Cultural Centre will be restored to its former glory and we project that the entry point for this investment will be about N1bn.

“In fact, for each of these sites and destinations, which I will be referring to as ‘The Focused Six’, the entry point will be about N250m with expected profit margin of between 50 and 60 per cent yearly based on a five-year projection.

“We got a reputable tourism advisory firm to run the number. So, we have the location and marketing appraisal for them as well as proposed project concept and financial appraisal. One major thing is the role the government needs to play in fostering partnership that leads to sustainable development, and I know that if I speak to these investors later today, the question they will be asking me is what we have to offer as a state government.

“Under our PPA arrangement, the primary source of funding for the project is the private investor or development organisation.”

Emphasizing the readiness of his administration to support investors, Governor Makinde said, “My brother sitting down here, Mr. Kunle Afolayan, is one of our investors in a film village, around Igbojaiye axis. One of the things he asked for was the road linkage, which we promised to do. We are still working on it. We want to link Ogbomoso zone to Oke-Ogun zone through Ogbomoso-Iseyin and the project will be commissioned in the next five weeks, 30th of May to be precise.

“The linkage road to the Film Village, we have started from Iwajowa, Iwere-Ile and it is going all the way to Alaga and that will make the Film Village close to the people. He also complained about electricity, which is one of the legitimate major concerns for investors. We have placed a transformer there because we have to create enabling environment and lift the burden on our investors so that they can focus on the core areas they want to invest in.”

In her welcome address, the Chairperson of the Summit, Dr. (Mrs.) Onikepo Akande, said the theme of the summit, “Repositioning Tourism as a Drive for Development in Oyo state,” is timely as the state is working towards targeting wider market of investors through projection of new face of tourism for sustainable development.

She added that for tourism to increase internally generated revenue, it must be done continuously to grow the economy and development of the state for the benefit of the people.

In her remarks, the Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Lola Ade-John, appreciated the Oyo State government for showcasing the hidden treasures of the state through tourism, assuring of her ministry’s partnership to support in exploring the potentials beyond the state.

In his goodwill message, former governor of Cross River State who was also the guest of honour, Donald Duke, said tourism development is encompassing to all sectors to grow the economy and attract investors of note to the state.

He noted that educating people in the hospitality sector is very essential to adding value so as to make the state one of the most visited tourism destinations in the world.

In their separate remarks, the Osun State Commissioner for Tourism, Hon. Ojo Abiodun; former President, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, (CCII) Chief Bayo Oyero, and the National President, Nigeria Association of Tourism Operators (NATOP), Mrs Ime Udo and the Alado of Ado Awaye, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rev. Ademola Olugbile Folakanmi, lauded the effort of the Oyo State government for awakening and developing tourist sites and for involving local investors.

They urged the government to continue to prioritise tourism to grow gross domestic product (GDP).

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