By Fidelia Ben-Udi
The Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Lawrence Ejiofor, has reiterated the State Government’s commitment to intensify efforts towards completing the Multi Billion Naira “Delta State Leisure Park, Zoological Garden and Film Village” as it is 95% completed.
The Commissioner, ably represented by the Permanent Secretary, Anagalere Umumkoro-Prest, made this reiteration at Arts Council pavilion which hosted the ceremony put together by the Directorate to mark the annual World Tourism Day, globally celebrated on the 27th of September.
He said that the project was put together in the State government’s bid to key into the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) plan for accelerating world economic recovery through tourism in the Post-Covid era.
Ejiofor appreciated the Governor, His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for actively ensuring that the project is actualized, stating that when it is completed, it will give a new lease of life to Deltans and the country because of its multi-functionality and ability to create jobs both for skilled and unskilled labour amongst many other benefits.
The Commissioner disclosed that all member Countries of the UNWTO, unanimously agreed on the theme of the celebration “Rethinking Tourism”, indicating that Tourism has proven to be the pillar of development as it absorbs many jobs, is inclusive and sustainable. He therefore welcomed all guest present to enjoy the celebration.
The Head of Service, Reginald Bayoko mni, ably represented by the Permanent Secretary Urban Renewal, Charity Ehimen, applauded the initiative and congratulated the Directorate for running with the vision of the Okowa administration in keeping tourism alive in the State.
The Secretary General, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvill, in his message, stated that the event is a chance to celebrate the many varied accomplishments of the sector as tourism has marked unparalleled growth in size, reach and significance, through four decades.
The message which was read by the Director of Culture, Friday Anaziah, acknowledged the opportunities that tourism has brought to nations but also recognized the need to rethink better ways of doing tourism as part of the lessons learnt from the pandemic which saw a pause in international travels.
The message read further, that in “exposing weakness, the crisis showed us where we can build more resilience, and in exposing inequalities, it also showed us where we can deliver more fairness. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development, alongside its 17 goals remains our end goal.
However, every part of the sector must rethink how we can get there. Tourism has always worked for young people, for women and communities, but now, it must truly work with them as well. We need new voices as well as new ideas if we are to transform our sector and build a better tourism for all”
According to the Secretary General, “rethinking one of the worlds major economic sectors will not be easy, but it is certain that we are on our way.
Significant progress is being made in ensuring that tourism becomes a central driver of the green, blue and digital economies, ensuring that growth does not come at the expense of people or the planet”.
The Director Tourism, Ese Onokpe addressing the press, said the yearly celebration is an opportunity to publicize tourism and its activities in the State. She stated that Delta is setting the pace for tourism in Nigeria and should be emulated.