Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has reiterated his promise to invest in tourism as a viable industry that can stimulate the State’s economy.
Speaking at Ibom Tropicana Hub while on a tour of various tourist sites in the state, Governor Eno identified the Akwa Ibom tourism industry as a potential revenue spinner, means of job creation and catalyst of the economy of rural and riverine areas.
“Let us just go round, see the things that we can turn around and make Akwa Ibom a tourist destination. We can then sit down, re-strategise and begin to take them one after the other”, he stated.
He said Akwa Ibom has a lot of tourism sites that require attention, assuring that the sector will soon witness a turnaround, as tourism development constitutes a key component of his administration’s A.R.I.S.E. Agenda.
To accomplish the vision, Governor Umo Eno, himself a Tourism exponent, announced plans to set up a tourism committee headed by the Culture and Tourism Commissioner to assess, identify and harness the state tourism potentials and make Akwa Ibom the desired tourism destination.
He said, “these are the things that stimulate the economy. Anything that stimulates the economy, be it in a small, medium or large scale captures my attention. That’s what we are here for.”
The Tour guide , Mr Ubong Ekpe who conducted the Governor round some of the facilities at the state museum and Ibom and Marina Beach at the Icon Hotel And Golf Resort, narrated the slave trade story, saying that facilities such as the slave master’s house and Marina beach, if refined, could become great tourist attractions and a boost to the state’s economy.
In his interaction with the people at the Nwaniba Beach Market, the governor said his greatest satisfaction will be affecting the economic lives of the rural and riverine people whose votes put him in office.
Governor Eno assured them that his administration through the Ministry of Internal and Waterways Security is poised to end all criminalities along the waterways to allow fishermen and traders do their businesses with ease.
During the tour the Governor visited Locations including the State Center for Arts and Culture, Olusegun Obasanjo Way, the Ibom Unity Museum and Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Center along Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo.
At the Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resort, the Governor also inspected Golf Course, the Marina Beach and the existing memorabilia of the then slave trade.
Addressing Government House, Corespondents shortly after the inspection tour of the Tourist Sites, Commissioner for Culture And Tourism, Sir Charles Udo, said that the inspection was the beginning in the series of visitations to be embarked upon by the Special Committee Set Up to identify, assess and harness tourist potentials in the state to enable it attract the expected traffic and boost the tourism sector of the state.
He said the state administration is passionate about reinvigorating the tourism sector which he said goes beyond sight seeing, hence the decision of the state government to use the entire state apparatus and Tourism practitioners to carry out an on- the- spot assessment of the sites.
He posited that an average Akwa man is imbued with cultural identity by way of dressing, dances, etiquette, tales , music and general way of life and assured that the dying culture of the people which is clearly distinct from traditions will be revived through the Center for Arts And Culture and exported to boost tourism in the state.
Accompanying the governor on the tour were, the Deputy Governor, Senator Dr. Akon Eyakenyi, Secretary to the State Government, Prince Enobong Uwah, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Sir Charles Udoh, President, Tourism Operators of Nigeria and Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism, Imeh Udoh and other members of the Tourism group at Ibom Dialogue.