Diverging from the usual practice of depending on the federal allocation; Oyo State government has disclosed her plans to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state through Tourism.
Oyo State commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun told the New Diplomat in an exclusive interview that his government has already harnessed all the tourism potentials of the State with a view to showcase some of it to the world on the next World Tourism day.
He said: “the State blessed with many natural tourist sites, man-made tourist attraction sites and historical monuments is set to experience an economic turnaround by exploring her tourism potentials”.
When asked of what strategy on ground; Arulogun said, all the products are packaged as Pacesetter Tourism. “The Pace Setter Tourism is packaged with a name called IPPP which means Identify the tourism sites, package for attraction, promotes and partner with necessary organisations for sustainability.
“Governor Abiola Ajimobi has been making deliberate efforts to facelift the state economy through Tourism,” he explained.
Of whether the state would completely look away from the Federal allocation after boosting her IGR through tourism; Arulogun says he cannot take a position.
He said: “All I know is that if all the tourism potentials of the state are duly explored; the state economy would definitely receive a boost. We don’t need to recreate, UI Zoo, NTA, Bower Memorial Tower, Liberty Stadium, Cocoa house which have become educational sites for tourists.
Speaking further, the commissioner disclosed plans to celebrate Aso Ofi day on the 27th of September when the World Tourism Day will be celebrated. According to him, Oyo planned to showcase some of her tourism products to Nigerians on the World Tourism Day, billed for September 27th this year at the old NYSC camp in Iseyin.
He said his state was making adequate preparation towards a hitch-free Tourism day, which will be used to celebrate the state’s rich cultural heritage in Iseyin, the base of the locally fabricated textile, Aso Ofi.
“The state government will soon host a tourism summit to, celebrate Amala Fiesta, promote Yoruba traditional wedding ceremonies and resuscitate the state tourist sites and monuments.
Many tourists and visitors crave for a food called Amala because they believe the state is the home of Amala and Gbegiri soup. Even our politics is named after the food and people called it Amala Politics. We are currently compiling the names, location and addresses of the popular Amala vendors with a view to boosting our food tourism of the State.
The home of the popularly known Aso Ofi which is a ceremonial dress for the South west people is made in Nigeria in Iseyin, Oyo State. They use it to celebrate wedding, burial, chieftaincy coronations and others.“We are going to be celebrating the Aso Ofi as parts of the Tourism products.
The commissioner further disclosed that his state is also blessed with the only standing suspended lake in Africa situated in Ado-awaye, Oyo State. Agodi garden in Ibadan has been transformed; the Bower Memorial Tower in Ibadan; and other historical sites and monuments to be showcased as products. “For example, the Adegoke Adelabu school, Olubadan’s palace, Adebisi Idikan’s home, Agbaje market and many others to be showcased as tourism products”.
“If we package all these tourisms products, many revellers and tourists from any parts of the world would prefer Oyo State as destination and other sectors of the economy would also receive boost.
We only need to promote, support and uphold our cultural heritage. By doing this, our economy will improve, and things will turn around for us in this state”.
Bemoaning the low patronage of the nation’s locally fabricated textile, Arulogun called on all Nigerians at home and the Diaspora to patronise and promote the made in Nigeria products. “It is the responsibility of all citizens of this state, both at home and in the diaspora to support the promotion of our local fabric, popularly known as ‘Aso-Ofi’ for the growth of our fashion tourism”.