…says robust culture, seaport, industrial park, others will drive tourist traffic to Edo
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the ongoing effort at repositioning the tourism sector through the development of a tourism master plan and the investment in the Benin River Port as well as the Benin Industrial Park would earn the state her fair share of the global tourism revenue, estimated at $1.260 trillion according to 2015 figures.
Obaseki gave the assurance on the occasion of the World Tourism Day, celebrated on September 27, each year.
According to the governor: “We are impressed with the positive outlook of the global tourism sector and we are repositioning our domestic arm to take its slice of the trillion dollar-industry.
“We are blessed with clement climate and have highly sought-after flora and fauna. Our people are hospitable and have continued to play host to people from far and near, since pre-colonial times.”
He said that work has commenced on the hosting of the 2018 edition of the Edo Festival of arts and culture (EDOFEST) which he explained “would showcase the rich and colourful culture of Edo people.”
Obaseki added: “The Edo Innovation Hub is pulling traffic of tech-entrepreneurs and thousands of people aspiring to tap into the opportunities in the technology industry, from across the world. We are resolute about making Edo Innovation Hub the Silicon Valley of Nigeria in the coming months.
“The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium being revamped will be open for international sporting competitions in the first quarter of next year, barring any hitches from the contractors. The 20 mini-stadia, when completed, will serve as grooming grounds for raw talent that will re-enact our glorious days in sports.”
On this year’s theme: “Tourism and the Digital Transformation,” Obaseki noted that “it is a beautiful coincidence that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is highlighting the impact of digital technology on human advancement and transformation at a time the Edo State Government has set up an innovation hub to equip Edo people with in-demand tech skills.
According to the UNWTO, “tourism is a key sector in the world. Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification, and it has become one of the fastest growing and most important economic sectors in the world, benefiting destinations and communities worldwide.”
The organisation said that the question of the opportunities that technological advances like big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms provide to tourism and sustainable development, will be answered at the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2018, where digital advances and innovation take centre stage to bring together continued growth with greater sustainability in tourism.
“This year, we will highlight the need for investment in disruptive digital technologies that can foster an environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism.
“The celebration will be held in Budapest, Hungary, a country enjoying steady growth of tourism backed by consistent policy support and a commitment to the digital future. Other celebrations will take place worldwide.
The global tourism body’s fact sheet shows that “International tourist arrivals worldwide have grown from 25 million in 1950 to nearly 1.3 billion today Similarly, international tourism revenues earned by destinations around the world have grown from 2 billion US dollars in 1950 to 1.260 trillion in 2015.
“The sector represents an estimated 10 per cent of the world’s GDP and 1 in 10 jobs globally.”
The UNWTO said it expects that tourism will continue to grow at an average of 3 per cent annually until 2030, adding “This growth reflects the progressive expansion of access to tourism thanks to the decline in the price of transport, especially air transport, and growing middle classes worldwide.
The recognition of the right to holidays in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the improved adoption of labour rights in many countries, have also supported the coming of age of tourism. These factors also serve as a backdrop for the resilience shown by tourism in recent years. The sector has experienced almost uninterrupted growth despite challenges such as the global economic crisis, natural disasters and pandemics.”