The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the Osun State governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, over the weekend, advised the Federal Government to fully explore the potentials inherent in tourism sub sector to tackle the nation’s economic recession..
They spoke in Ile-Ife at the unveiling of the Olojo Festival logo, which marks the beginning of the 2016 Olojo Festival, held at Ooni’s palace.
Olojo is one of the oldest festivals in Ife and celebrated all over Yorubaland.
The duo contended that with substantial investment in the tourism, accruable revenues from the sector could be handy in the steady economic growth of the country.
Aregbesola, who was represented by the Director General of the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Dr Charles Akinola, noted that entrepreneurs’ involvement was necessary for cultural renaissance and socio-economic development.
While maintaining that Ile-Ife has no fewer than 12 tourist centres of international standards, he said many countries have generated revenue ranging from $20.2billion to $177.2 billion from their tourism sector.
Oba Ogunwusi tasked President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to intensify investments in tourism, saying the sector was capable of bailing the country out of economic recession.
According to the monarch, “what we are doing is indeed a new one, we have improved the branding and we want to show the landmark uniqueness of Ile-Ife as a tourist centre.
“Both government and private entrepreneurs should begin to use tourism for unity and economic development. Tourism is about movement. It is like a mandate that draws people from every part of the world.
“It will bail us out of recession. It is a product that will provide lasting solution to economic challenges in the country. ”
We should not rely on oil sector alone as we have greater opportunities that remain unexploited in the tourism sector.”
While corroborating the position of the traditional ruler, Aregbesola averred that “there are at least 12 monuments and sites in Ile-Ife that are of international standard. We can tap into the Yoruba Diaspora population and make them come to Ife on an annual pilgrimage. If we get this right, this alone is enough to give Osun a buoyant economy and make her one of the richest in Nigeria.”