Managing Director of Sub Urban Heritage Initiative (SUHI), Hon. Rosemary Nkem Okeke, had described the ongoing Romarox Tourism Photo Competition (RTPC) as a platform created by her firm to add value to life by using tourism as a benchmark.
Speaking during the official launch/media conference for the 2019 edition of the RTPC, organized by her company at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos, Tuesday, Okeke said the desire to drive patronage for domestic tourism through the platforms provided by the various local tourist sites informed her company’s decision to float the photo competition which rewards participants with gifts and cash prizes.
RTPC is organized by the Sub Urban Heritage Initiative established by Okeke, a former winner of the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant for 1984-1985, who is also the Tourism Ambassador for Imo State.
The photo completion was launched on April 26th, 2012 in Abuja and is endorsed by the Federal Government.
“The competition seeks to ensure that members of the Nigerian public appreciate their own immediate environment. It has embodied in its goals the noble intention of spreading the message of peace, hope, love and the strength that is characteristic of the Nigerian people. It also prides itself with passing down values of our heritage of love to the underprivileged people amongst us through the skill empowerment projects of the Sub-Urban Heritage Initiative geared towards their socio-economic growth and development.
It is a medium for Nigerians to explore potential of their immediate environment hence making it a prospect that has immense economic viability which entails amongst many, job creation, promote backward integration to the sub-urban than the urban.
“Participants are free to participate by uploading on the website, original pictures of tourist attraction sites in their immediate environments in any and every category of the competition which are: Special scenery, natural wonders, legendary materials/iconic human, ecosystem festivals, history, monuments, developed tourist sites.
Speaking further, Okeke said the competition which already opened last March 2 is expected to close October 16, this year, is ‘a positive idea that promises mouthwatering prizes.’
The general public and all who mean well for the growth and development of domestic tourism in Nigeria therefore are enjoined to submit entries for the competition on the website which has being open for registration since March 2nd, 2019 and is slated to end on October 16th, 2019.
Describing he competition as ‘timely,’ Okeke noted that Nigeria tourism was lagging behind in the race for the top position in the continent not as a lack of resources, potential and attractions but rather due to poor management by the public sector, brand promotion and patronage by Nigerians at home.
“The timeliness of this event is not in doubt because as they say, necessity is the mother of invention and as such, the many prevailing issues as they relate to our country today is the underlying reason for this event, how to add value to life by using tourism as a benchmark.
“A lot has been said and is still being said about the abundant natural resources Nigeria is blessed with, together with its vast land mass and exciting sights and features laced on it. It is thus safe to say that Nigeria is well endowed with everything it needs to be a leading light in Africa and globally, in material and human resources.
“Green as it is and with the appreciable successes it has recorded in the last few years, tourism in Nigeria still suffers low patronage and worst still from Nigerians themselves who most often are carried away by the lure of a vacation abroad, thus missing out on the chance to explore hitherto unknown beautiful tourist destinations in our country.
“Although while many travel abroad for those vacations on the premise of having no knowledge of some of the massive beautiful tourist destinations that abound here, others blame it on the poor packaging of these destinations/centers thereby making it unattractive to elicit a visit.
“Although government at national and state levels have done well in trying to make tourism a more thriving market in Nigeria, a lot still remains to be done in certain cardinal areas that have far reaching effects on the patronage of our local tourist sites by Nigerians themselves,” Hon. Okeke stressed.
On his part, Chief Operating Officer, SUHI, Mr Olusegun Ekundayo, explained in his presentation that the competition is open to everyone as, according to him, participants are free to participate by uploading on the website (https:rtpc.romaroxresources.com), their original pictures of any local tourist attraction sites in their immediate environments in any and every category of the competition which are: Special scenery, natural wonders, legendary materials/iconic human, ecosystem festivals, history, monuments, developed tourist sites.
With a star prize of a car, as well as N500, 000 to each winner from the seven different categories, the competition which is open to Nigerians and foreigners resident in the country, promises a digital camera to the first runner up.
The launch and media conference which attracted top figures from the Nigerian film and videos industry was coloured by performances from the fashion designers and cultural performances.
By VICTOR NZE