The Governor of Abia State, Dr Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, has reiterated government renewed commitment towards tourism development in Abia.
Gov Ikpeazu who stated this during the 2022 World Tourism Day on National War Museum Umuahia, Abia state, urged all to help in maintaining the tourist sites in the state to help boost tourism in the state.
Gov. Ikpeazu who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr. Chris Ezem, stated that in order to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, the tourist sites in the State like; Azumini Blue River, Amakama wooden cave, Uturu cave, among others, needs to be developed.
Speaking on the 2022 theme entitled; Rethinking Tourism, the SSG said: “There is a shift from the oil sector to agriculture in order to boost IGR while countries like Brazil have survived solely on tourism”.
“The revenue generated from tourism in places like Florida is above the internally generated revenue of Nigeria”.
This, he said, has become important to transform the tourism sector.
Ezem further congratulated the Abia state Ministry of Tourism, Art, and Culture for the efforts invested to ensure a successful event while charging them to showcase the state’s cultural heritage in the forthcoming cultural day.
In his address, the Honourable Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Barr. Tony Nwamuo, stated that a lot has been achieved under the leadership of the rebuilder of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, adding that the Governor’s aggressive promotion of made in Aba products, has made Aba a tourist centre the for products such as belt, shoes and other leather works among others.
He noted that there are plans in place to revive the Azumini Blue river for effective use.
The Tourism and Culture boss disclosed the theme; Rethink Tourism is apt, urging all to support the efforts of Gov Ikpeaze in revamping these tourist sites in Abia.
He further called on Abians to support Gov. Ikpeazu’s-led administration, in his renewed efforts towards sustaining tourism and businesses in the state through the provision of peaceful and business enabling environment in Abia.
Contributing, the Executive Secretary, Abia State Diaspora Commission, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ogbonna Erondu, called on Abians to join hands with Abia government to maintain their tourism heritage, describing the newly unveiled Abia Tourism Yellow Page as a welcome development.
Erondu who revealed that tourism is very important to the diasporan, charged Abians to stop de-marketing the state, but to market the state to attract tourists and investors.
The curator, National War Museum, Mrs Evelyn Iheoma Osuagwu, while presenting a paper titled on rethinking tourism in Abia State said that rethinking the tourism model involves improving the Tourist’s experience, better management of the impacts of tourism and encouraging positive spillover effects on the wider economy.
She appealed to the ministry to get a team of experts to assist in tourism practice and empower them to embark on a survey and evaluation of all forms of cultural, national and other tourist attractions, identify their relative importance and recommend appropriate ones for development and conservation.
In her lecture, the Abia state liason officer, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Ihuoma Eva Nwachukwu, stated that world tourism day has always been a chance to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of the sector.
She further added that the theme, centres on reimagining the sector’s growth thereby focusing on reinventing the sector’s expansion in terms of size of and relevance.
The theme; ‘Rethinking tourism’ is celebrating the opportunity to rethink how we do tourism for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector.
The event featured the unveiling/launching of a Abia Tourism Yellow Page; a digital platform that contained a directory of hotels and detailed information about tourist sites in Abia, cutting of historic Abia world tourism cake, cultural performances by Abia State Art Council, JOMEG school, Isingwu Primary schools, among others.
Other dignitaries present at the event include, the Abia state, Head of Service, Sir Onyii Wamah, Commissioners for Transport, Documentation and Strategy, Post Basic Education, Mr. Godswill Nwanorue, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, Mr. I. C. Mark respectively, Sole Adminiatrator, Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC), Barr Henry Chilaka, former Sole Adminiatrator, ASOPADEC, Rt. Hon. Emeka Stanley, the permanent Secretaries, MTAC, Engr. Ugochukwu Ugwuzor, with other members, body of permanent Secretaries, General Manager, Abialine Network, Prince Emeka Onyenso among others.