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Edo Ministry of Arts, Culture showcases Obaseki-backed Tourism Projects at NIHOTOUR Conference

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"wake up, smell the coffee and collect their money" very quickly as tourism is the new crude oil for not only Nigeria but the world in general,

By Wisdom Agbonta 

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs Edo State, Iryn Omorogiuwa Esq. has made a strong case for sustained government’s support for the expansion of tourism in Nigeria in order to create a stronger sector, locally and nationwide.

She made the case at the recent conference organized by the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOURS) with the theme: ‘Harnessing the Versatile Tourism Career and Employment Opportunities in Nigeria’.

Shedding light on the approach of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in job and wealth creation as well as other activities to reposition the tourism sector in the State, Omorogiuwa outlined the socio-economic prospects of the  Benin Cultural District and the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Sound Stage, among other projects being executed in the State.

The Permanent Secretary emphasized the need for a strategic team to aggressively market Nigeria as the preferred tourist destination in Africa.

She added that the Benin Cultural District would be a hub for all tourists as it is a  complex that will include the pavilion, the National Museum, Royal collections, Urhokpota Hall, restoration of a part of the Benin Moat, artists ranging from bronze casters to woodcarvers and the likes, all of which will make visitors have the full experience of the Edo culture that spans over six to seven centuries.

She explained that the Prof. Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Sound Stage, which is named after the late guitar boy and one of the greatest music maestros of our time, Sir. Victor Uwaifo is a multi-million dollar studio to support artists and other creative talents in the State.

Omorogiuwa stated that the facility has editing suites and incubates state-based groups and artistes. The facility is used for live shows and has studios for production of movies. The hub also has spaces for artists in the performing arts.

She enjoined all participants to employ the use of technology in the provision of tourism services to the public as Edo State was adjudged the best State in the use of Digital Technology in marketing Arts for 2022 at the last National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST).

According to her, the Digital Benin which is a project where more than 131 museums and institutions from 20 countries have worked together to create a digital platform that brings together the art treasures from the Kingdom of Benin that were looted in the late 19th century and scattered across the world.

The Permanent Secretary further said that the

Digital Benin features narratives that connect digital documentation of these objects to oral histories and research into the artifacts.

It also offers an Edo language catalogue, a map of the Kingdom of Benin, and the location of Benin collections in museums worldwide. She called on stakeholders in the sector to visit Edo State and enjoy the huge tourism offerings of the State.

In her closing remarks, she called for collaboration among governments within Nigeria, institutions and persons that train tourism personnel to ensure that the gap between the expectations from tourists and the practitioners in tourism industry are met “by delivering bespoke services of international standards all the time as this is the only way as a nation we will keep smiling to the bank.”

She urged tourism practitioners to “wake up, smell the coffee and collect their money” very quickly as tourism is the new crude oil for not only Nigeria but the world in general, adding that this would create more opportunities for employment and increase the internally generated revenue of the country, so that unemployment, poverty and other negative vices would gradually go into extinction.

In his speech, the President, Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, FITPN, said: “All trade sectors of the tourism industry are service-oriented and human capital dependent. Therefore, appropriate human resource development is of critical importance for its growth, development and sustenance. Hence, the acquisition of the right skills and experience gained over periods of time and practice, combined with conceptual appreciation that can translate into action to give quality service delivery is what is required for job and career seekers in the sector.”

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