Oyo govt to develop, promote Idere Hills through public-private partnership
The Oyo State Government has promised to bring meaningful development to the touristic essence of Idere town through the strategic development of Idere Hills to promote domestic tourism in Ibarapa and the state at large.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun who thronged the Idere enclave in the company of the Special Adviser to the Governor of Oyo State on Culture and Tourism, Hon Ademola Ige and a strong team of the ministry alongside the member of Oyo State Tourism Board, said this after a two-hour hiking expedition on the legendary Idere Hills.
Dr Olatunbosun, who was optimistic on the tourism agenda of the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, said that the step taken to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day at the Idere Hills is a clear indication of the governor’s determination to change the tourism landscape of the town and in extension the state at large, as we have more than enough attraction to drive international patronage.
He added that today’s new step in tourism will be pivotal to the development of domestic tourism in Oyo State.
According to Olatunbosun, “Tourism brought us to this place. We decided to celebrate this year’s WTD in a unique way by coming to a domestic tourism destination, which is a far departure from what we used to do which is normally an indoor event where we sit and educate each other on tourism.
“We decide to take a leap this year to reach out to a unique destination and we pick Ibarapa and the Idere Hills was just a place of note that fits the WTD celebration with the theme Tourism and Rural Development.”
The commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, who thanked the Oba, and people of Idere for hosting over 1000 people at the foot of the Idere Hills also assured the community of a new tone of things, calling for proposals from private organisations to develop the tourism potential in Idere.
“We will convey to the governor all your propositions on exploring the wonders of the Idere Hills and we will also be expecting interest from the private sector to key into our Public-Private Partnership bid to make Idere Hills another haven for tourist patronage.
“This is what we did to other sites and events in Oyo State that are now getting relevance, like the Songo Festival in Oyo and the Ado Awaye Suspended Lake which have now become a point of reference for both domestic and international interest.”
“I must tell you that today is the beginning of better things for Idere as you will start receiving tourists in their droves, but one thing I must advice is that we must now increase your spirit of hospitality and be more accommodating.”
In his remarks, the Senior Adviser on Culture and Tourism to Governor Seyi Makinde, Hon Ademola Ige, in his spirited speech said tourism is a great engine for economic and social development as it creates an avenue to generate new jobs, attract investments and develop local communities.
“For many rural communities, tourism has brought about futuristic opportunities, providing jobs and economic empowerment. I believe this is a very positive way of looking at tourism as it highlights how the sector can enhance a better understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
“ I must tell you that the Oyo State Government under the leadership of Seyi Makinde his taking efforts to ensure that the state fully leverages on tourism by adequately promoting the potential of tourism to create job opportunities and the unique better economy of the state.
“I am happy to inform you that processes are ongoing to concede some of the tourism sites which are in a comatose situation to some developers and investors for rehabilitation and refurbishment.
“We are positive that when this is done, we would have created another source of revenue and employment opportunities for the youth to drive economic development in the state, which is the pillar of this year’s theme of the WTD.”
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the World Tourism Day celebration and member of the House of Representative, Hon Ajibola Muriana commended Governor Makinde, the Commissioner of Information, the Oba and people of Idere, describing the bringing of the 2020 WTD fiesta to Idere town as a paradigm shift in the anals of the event in the state.
“The Oyo State government, in moving this event to Idere Hills, is a demonstration of her commitment to the development of the tourism potentialities of the state and we are happy you chose Idere Hills first in this significant bid.”
Muriana explained that “Idere Hills is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Nigeria. Taking a look around, you will enjoy the sights and sound of a unique ecosystem upon which the various cultural sites revolve around, among which are the Onidere ancient Palace, Fish Lake, Aroye Hill Atapa Water, 600 years old defence wall, Iyara Walls, Natural swimming pool and so on.
“Tourists from all corners of the world can be attracted here if these sites are properly developed and presented to them. It is good we now have a government that appreciates the need to develop the potential of Idere Hills as a tourist centre and we are looking forward to the improvements and the publicity necessary to put Idere on the tourism map of the world.”
He, however, appealed to the people of Idere and Oyo State to continue to support every initiative and efforts of the government towards the development of the state and her economy.
The Onidere of Idere, who was happy for the prominence given to the town because of its natural splendour gifted the land by God, lauded the unprecedented steps taken by Governor Makinde for the epic gathering on the Idere Hills for the world tourism day event, praying that his tenure will bring more fortune to Oyo State beyond his imaginations.
The Oba who also walk the talk alongside the mammoth crowd to and from the summit of the Idere Hills called on the government to put them in mind in making sure that the promise of bringing development through public and private sector participation sees the light of the day, adding that it will not only help to open the town to the world but it will help to bring about socio-economic development to the people and in extension paying off for other tourism value chain industry player with and outside the community and even the state.
The event which also paraded some cultural performances including cultural dance, talking drum display led by a young female talking drummer had a long list of attendance cut across the value chain of the tourism business.
Among the stakeholders are Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) Oyo State Hoteliers Association, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Nigeria Association of Tour Operators, Nigeria Seven Wonder team, 100 Top Tourism Personalities in Nigeria among others.