Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Enugu State, Mr Ugonna Ibe has called on international and local investors to take advantage of the state’s naturally endowed and beautiful tourist sites.
The Commissioner made this call on Monday during a Press Conference organised by the Ministry in collaboration with i-Tour Africa, to announce the state’s line-up of activities for World Tourism Day 2020.
According to Independent Newspaper, Ibe said that the state government was ready to assist any potential investor in the tourism sector, adding “we are also open to Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) with any investor to develop these tourism potentials’’.
According to him, the tight security and peace put in place by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the homely nature of our people and communities makes Enugu State number one tourist destination in Nigeria.
The commissioner noted that Enugu State occupies a strategic position in the country being the capital of the old Eastern region and with a rich historical culture “making it a place to be for leisure and tourism’’.
Ibe said that the state was richly endowed with natural resources such as hills, beaches, rivers, blue-deep lakes, fine waterfalls, caves and clean streams and springs (cold and hot) yearning for investment.
According to him, these gifts of nature in their natural and virgin states are virtually found in many communities in the state.
“The tourism sites are: Ezeagu tourism complex; Udi range of hills – Milikin-Hill, Onyema-Hill etc; Awhum falls; Opi chain of eight lakes; and Oji, Ajali, Duru, Ebonyi and Ezu Nmamu Rivers.
“We also have Nyaba, Akwuke and Ekulu beaches that can challenge any modern coastal beach anywhere in the world. “Again, the Obinofia, Akpugoeze and Awa mangrove-tropical forests infested with Bezier wild lives and the Odoro Achi hot lake to mention but a few. These eco-beauties are what nature presents to us that desire harnessing,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that there were other historic landmarks that had been identified but not harnessed, such as the relics of Okpogho Oghe/Legga Nsukka iron smelting and the Ugwu-Uto Pyramid of Nsude among others.
“These landmarks have been tested through carbon dating and found that they dated over 3,000 years ago. This proves that technology existed here in the state even before the western countries,’’ he said.
Ibe said that the state government had been desirous to build its diversification from oil dependent economy to tourism-based economy; where a lot of local people would be employed through services they render to tourists.
Speaking, the Founder of i-Tour Africa, Mr Uche Ugwu, lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the security and peace his leadership had brought to the state, which had singled Enugu State out as “a first-rate tourists destination’’.
Ugwu said that his organisation was partnering the state through the ministry to “restart tourism and give it a pride of place in the socio-economic polity of the state’’.
“We have a line of activities, which will culminate on the World Tourism Day being Sept. 27. First is this particular press conference.
“We are billed to conduct the first tourism road walk/show in Enugu metropolis otherwise called the `coal city’ on Sept. 26. “On the D-day, Sept. 27; there will be a tourism carnival and a carnival ride from Enugu metropolis to Ezeagu Waterfalls.
Where people will view and feel the natural beauty of the Ezeagu Waterfalls. “We will be having curators that will educate us more on the Waterfalls; other current and historical things concerning Ezeagu and Enugu State people in general,’’ he said.
Ugwu, however, said that the lined-up events would adhere strictly to the COVID-19 Protocols to ensure health of all. The World Tourism Day is celebrated yearly on Sept. 27 and this year’s theme is “Tourism and Rural Development’’.