The government of Enugu State has taken a giant stride to become one of the biggest tourism hubs in Nigeria.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Enugu State, Mr Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, who spoke with journalists at the 2016 Akwaaba African Travel Market, in Lagos, said the way out of recession is to diversify, while describing tourism as a low hanging fruit that can turn around the situation of any economy in a space of time.
According to Ogbu-Nwobodo, “Enugu is not leaving any stone unturned to see that we use the available potential through private partner initiative to boost the tourism sector of the state.
“We are exploring different allied tourism sector to make our state more attractive to visitors, investors and tourists through the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) approach.
“We are stepping up our game in terms of infrastructural development to create an enabling environment that will not only open newer economic opportunities but also create and recreate sustainable jobs and revenue for the state.
The commissioner who lauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, said the governor’s proactive initiatives in repositioning the state has also geared everyone to work with sincerity of purpose to put the state on the world map of tourism.
“We have an approved free trade zone and as a matter of fact, the only free trade zone in south east. We are going to break grounds in that area.
“The whole idea is to create that platform that reduces the entry barriers into investment and as part of that; we are also involved in the entertainment sector, the medical tourism. There is a company that is going to put in place a kind of medical facility that you expect to see outside the country within the free trade zone, so this is just an integrated approach that captures what the tourism session discussed at the Akwaaba and also we try to expand into some other allied areas which I see as interconnected.
“It is also of note to let you know that we are going to have the biggest convention centre in Nigeria, a 10,000 capacity conference for our MICE initiative.
“However, the conference project was inherited, but as part of our policies which believe that government is continual, we felt the project has to be completed and we are going to do that through concession.
“We would provide an enabling environment for concessionaires to come in and finish the project.”
Ogbu-Nwobodo added that the core of the concessioning is to energise tourism and even the economy.