In a bid to strengthen the local tourism industry against the down trend in tourist travel, the Cross River State Tourism Bureau and the Department of State Services (DSS), have partnered to boost tourism in the state.
Managing Director, Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr. Utsu John Atsu met with the state’s director DSS, Cross River Command – Mr A. A. Ilupeju at the Command headquarters in Calabar on Wednesday, 9th September, 2020.
Mr Utsu highlighted the vital role of the DSS in curbing the menace of kidnapping and other crimes in the state. He appealed to the DSS Director to partner with the bureau for the safety of the destination.
According to Mr. Utsu, “Cross River State is synonymous with tourism and we need to strengthen our ties with the DSS to enable data sharing and collaboration for improved security as well as better touristic perception of Cross River State”.
Mr. Utsu also informed the DSS Director of the Bureau’s plan to give greater attention to Ecotourism in order to protect and promote the Cross River Gorilla which is the rarest Gorilla specie in the world.
The Cross River Gorilla also known as Gorilla gorilla deihli has fewer than 300 apes remaining globally and are found in the Mbe Mountains in Boki Local Government Area of the State.
Utsu added that the Cross River Gorilla had the potential of becoming a multi-million dollar business for the State’s tourism economy. He explained that Rwanda earns lots of money from Gorilla tracking as tourists pay about $1500 for each of the 96 Gorilla tracking permits the Rwandan Government issues each day.
This, Utsu said amounted to foreign exchange earnings of about $4.5 Million dollars monthly to their local economy.
The MD therefore appealed to the DSS State Director to support the Bureau’s initiative to bring to fruition this Ecotourism dream.
In his remarks, the DSSg Director – A. A. Ilupeju said “Security is development and development is security. We’ll ensure that this symbiotic relationship continues”. Ilupeju promised the full assistance of his command to help the Bureau and the Government deliver better tourism services to the world and regain it’s position as Nigeria most heralded tourist destination.
The Director DSS encouraged the management team of the bureau to make a difference in complementing the State Government’s overall goals and objectives in tourism growth and development.
The Cross River State tourism also visited the Slave history museum in the state.
Mr Utsu met with the curator and his management team and looked at areas of improvement to reposition the museum for domestic and international markets.
It is important to note that the bight of Biafra accounted for 30.1 % of slave movement from Africa to the western world. This historic site must be repositioned for positive storytelling and revenue generation.