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Osun Tourism: Oyetola unveils master plan, honours stakeholders

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Osun State government has set the pace for its tourism development with Governor Adegboyega Oyetola disclosing that the Vision 30-30 Reality tourism master plan is geared towards expanding the economic base of the state in the short and long term basis. This is even as he commended the Managing Director of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, and other partners for supporting the initiative and their commitment towards exploring the state tourism potential.

Oyetola made this known recently during the launch of the state tourism master plan, which he said is a laudable component of a comprehensive template for expanding the state’s economic diversification programme to increase its revenue drive. The tourism master plan is tagged Culture and Tourism for Sustainable Economy (CUTOSEC).

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Meanwhile, Sterling Bank, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Goge Africa were during the event honoured with the Institution Award of Excellence by Governor Oyetola. Nneka and Isaac Moses received the award for Excellence in Domestic Tourism Promotion and Marketing. The duo, who have noted tourism ambassadors, expressed delight over the award and appreciation to the state governor.

The governor said the plan would provide opportunities for youths in the state, adding that culture and tourism club would soon be initiated in all the public schools in the state. He commended the managing director of Sterling Bank for accepting to deliver the Osun Sterling Tourism 30-30 Reality as a short-term agenda in tourism while its long-term plan is anchored on culture for a sustainable economy.

The effort that culminated in this laudable tourism master plan is traceable to the series of webinar organised this year by Goge Africa, with Sterling Bank coming into the fray, pledging N5 billion towards the development of tourism in Nigeria. Later on, a synergy was formed with Sterling Bank, Goge Africa, La Campagne and AU – ECOSOCC – Nigeria (African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council) among other stakeholders.

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Part of this noble move culminated in the tour of Osun State by the team to explore some of its tourism sites and hold talks with the government. These series of events were among the elements that gave birth to the tourism master plan. With the tourism master plan now unfolded, the governor assured that practical steps would be taken to develop and promote the state tourism sites.

Some of the areas of focus include Owala Water Development Project, which would be activated as a tourist destination with the construction of eco-lodges, water structures and super structures as well as placement of water-related attractions and construction of an art and craft village, among others.

The project would also host a local fish preparation and finishing centre while a palm oil processing company would be established under public-private partnership (PPP). Also, the site of the Kiriji War where a 16-year long civil war among the Yoruba people took place would be developed as a tourist destination under PPP.

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Golf and polo fields would be provided for visitors as part of engaging sporting activities in addition to the development of caves and preparation of mountain climbing facility and mountain gazebo. Bush houses and eco-lodges would be constructed at the site while car parks and halls would be provided for events.

Olumirin Waterfalls would be developed as a tourist destination, with the construction of staircases, water channels and control erosion, living apartments and eco-lodges in a native structure, also under.

The state government is expected to provide the land and basic infrastructure for these projects as well as ensure security while Sterling Bank will act as the financial advisor and financer. Goge Africa will market the various destinations to the world, while the African Union – ECOSSOC will use its network to raise funding and market the projects in the Diaspora.

La Campagne is expected to secure site development for the Olumirin Waterfalls in collaboration with Sterling Bank and submit the proposal for the ministry consideration and approval.

Receiving the award, Isaac Moses said, “We dedicate this award to the rural communities in Nigeria and Africa that need to be developed for tourism to thrive. We will continue to project our communities, cultures, heritage, tourism potential and investment opportunities; because we believe that domestic tourism has enormous potential to improve the local economy, attract investment and foster development,’’ Moses said.

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