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.
“That is, if they are harnessed properly, but funding has always been the issue and we believe that the Federal Government can fill this gap,“ Ojo-Lanre said.
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.
Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts and Culture, Prof Razaq Ojo-Bakare, applauded the initiative, saying it would go a long way in engaging the youth and curb their criminal tendencies.
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)