Ekiti State Government has advised Federal Government to extend special intervention fund to develop the vast potentials in Nigeria’s tourism sector as was being done to the agriculture sector.
Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Kayode Fayemi on Tourism, said this on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti during a programme on tourism.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was tagged “Hike Ekiti Mountain Safari’ under a concept called ‘Discover Ekiti.”
Ojo-Lanre also called on federal government to place high premium on tourism as being done to Oil and Gas to promote the nation as the tourism hub of Africa.
“From time immemorial, government has placed high premium on oil and in the spirit of diversification, they are investing billions of naira on agriculture, through intervention funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“We urge the Federal Government to do same for tourism, though we understand that Ekiti is purely agrarian.
“Our economy rests heavily on agriculture, but tourism too has its own priceless place, because some of these natural endowments were not being tapped and they are many.
“The rolling hills and mountains, waterfalls, the Ikogosi warm spring, some discovered caves, rivers, and others have the potentials to turn around our economy.
According to him, Hike Ekiti Mountain Safari’ is a public-private initiative, geared towards engaging the youth.
He assured that the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi was committed to widening the scope of tourism for revenue generation.
“This Hike Ekiti Mountain programme was an initiative of our youths; we have asked the young people to be developing ideas, the government is ready to fund such to empower our youths,” he said.
The commissioner added that Ekiti was partnering private bodies, international organisations and countries to expand the frontiers of tourism development.
“Discover Ekiti” Team Leader, Michael Peculiar, said that the programme was conceptualised to redirect the youths to the path of sanity and turn them away from crime.
“This is going to be a continuous exercise, not a one-off thing, we will explore all tourism opportunities available to Ekiti, to empower our youths and make them relevant economically.” (NAN)