The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government is developing a cultural district in Benin metropolis to leverage its rich cultural heritage in boosting tourism receipts.
The governor said this in commemoration of World Tourism Day, marked every September 27, by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an organ of the United Nations. This year’s theme is ‘Rethinking tourism.’
He said the government is rethinking tourism and investing hugely in the sector to reposition it to contribute adequately to the state’s economic growth and development.
The governor noted that the state is developing a tourism master plan to serve as a compass to drive the sector’s development, urging for the support and collaboration of all stakeholders to grow the tourism sector and make it more vibrant and attractive.
According to Obaseki, “This year’s World Tourism Day presents yet another opportunity to reinstate the crucial role of the tourism sector to the growth and development of any economy and advocate for increased partnership among critical stakeholders to adequately harness the huge potential of the sector.
“Travel and tourism alone, according to global research body, statistica.com, contributed about 2.8 percent of Nigeria’s entire GDP in 2020, which equaled 11 billion US dollars and this very significant contribution to the nation’s economy could be increased to reflect the true potential of the sector with adequate investment and partnerships.
“This is why as a government, we are rethinking the sector and repositioning it to become a veritable source of revenue for our dear state. We are already developing the state’s tourism master plan, as well as critical infrastructure, among others required to reposition the sector to effectively contribute to the state’s economic growth and development.”
“With this tourism master plan, we are sure of boosting domestic tourism in the state and improving revenue. Our goal is to position Edo State as a world-class culture and tourism destination, leveraging the huge arts, culture and tourism potential of the state.
“We are already developing a cultural district, which comprises museums, art spaces, cultural and arts bouquet services, entertainment centers, shopping malls, among others. These are sure to boost the state’s cultural district,” he added.
According to the United Nations, “the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism’ aims to inspire the debate around rethinking tourism for development, including through education and jobs, and tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably.”