Mr. Joseph Umoh, a tourism specialist, has urged the state government to spend more in the tourist sector in order to increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue.
Umoh, the state chairman of the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), made the request while speaking with journalists over the weekend in Uyo.
He emphasised that the state had several tourist spots with enormous potential that may generate billions of dollars for the state, and he urged Governor Umo Eno to remain steadfast in his commitment to revitalise and develop the sector.
He grieved that significant tourism sites such as Lord Lugard’s House in Ikot Abasi, Mary Slessor’s home in Ibiono Ibom, where she sat in court to end the old practise of executing twins, and the leppers’ colony had been abandoned.
He noted that such tourist destinations are critical to the survival of some advanced economies, such as Israel, where Christian religious pilgrims spend billions of dollars on capital flights to see ancient imprints of Jesus Christ, disciples, and other Christian relics.
Umoh, who also serves as the Managing Director (MD) of Jous Venture Leisure Group (JVLG), a travel agency in the state, revealed that the government has identified around 18 tourism destinations across the 31 LGAs in which to invest and reposition the state for strategic exploitation in the tourism sector.
He noted that following the popular “Akwa Ibom Dialogue,” the state Governor formed a Tourism Committee to conduct fact-finding missions at all tourism spots in the state in order to generate money-making business opportunities for the state.
“We visited virtually all of the state’s tourism sites,” he says. Some local governments have multiple locations. We visited approximately 18 tourism development locations.
The arrangement of the colonial offices, including Lord Lugard’s office, his apartment, and colonial workers’ offices, can be found in the Ikot Abasi council area. We also have the women’s war memorial, which was the hall where women gathered before embarking on what became known as the “Aba Women Riot of 1929.”
It was going to be called the ‘Ikot Abasi or Ukam Women Riot,’ but because the women’s group’s leadership was in Aba.
This is because the most of the fighting took place in Akwa Ibom, specifically in Ikot Abasi.
“We also went to ‘the bridge of no return,’ where slaves were kept in a dungeon until they were deported via slave ship.”
Other tourism destinations that Umoh mentioned are the Blue River in Ukanafun, Iko Beach in Eastern Obolo, and Usaka Forest in Obot Akara, where the ‘Ultimate Gulder Search’ event was held many years ago.
He urged the host communities of the identified tourism locations to embrace peace, noting that tourism benefits everyone in society.