Tourism Summit: We will work with investors to unlock tourism potential – Makinde

Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has reiterated his government’s readiness to partner with investors to unlock the state’s tourism potential.

The Governor also pledged to support and collaborate with relevant stakeholders and promote the partnership that would lead to sustainable development and ensure the success of their investments.

Governor Makinde stated this at the opening ceremony of the International Tourism Summit tagged #ITSOYOSTATE 2024, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.

The two-day event aimed to showcase local and international stakeholders in the tourism sector the cultural diversity and tourism potential and harness them for socio-economic development.

Speaking on the theme: “Repositioning Tourism as a Driver for Sustainable Development in Oyo State,” Governor Makinde emphasized that his administration had focused on the interconnectedness of all zones, thereby attracting tourists to the sites and creating a conducive environment created in which tourism could thrive. Deepen the experience for business travelers.

The governor assured that his government would soon repair the roads leading to the Ikere Gorge Dam and the Eruwa Agribusiness Hub as investors have shown willingness to develop the sites, saying the state would unlock the state’s tourism potential by working with local communities to develop projects. the places.

He noted that many opportunities exist in the tourism sector, which can lead to prosperity if properly harnessed, adding that there are six major development sites in the state, namely the Cultural Centre, Ibadan; Bower’s Tower, Eleyele Waterfront, Idere Hills, Iyake Hanging Lake and Iyamapo Hills.

While appreciating all the delegates, investors and participants present at the event, Governor Makinde assured them to safeguard their investments.

He said: “When you hear the title of the presentation, the key word you can quickly identify is unlock. I always tell people that Nigeria has the potential and we need to unlock it to realize the benefits of that potential.

“The investors have their money for their investment and on the other side there is profit. So the question is always what the return on investment (RoI) will be.

“Without the right key to unlock the potential they are looking for, they will not access the expected benefit. Therefore, in this presentation, I will share the keys that will unlock the tourism potential in Oyo State.

“Several speakers will discuss opportunities for collaboration in Oyo State and outline what the state has to offer. But it’s one thing to know what the state has, and quite another to have access to it. So, what is this key? Well, it’s partnership.”

Speaking at length, the Governor said: “There are three types of partnerships you can find in Oyo State. The first is public-private partnership; Public Development Partnership, PDP and the Hybrid Partnership. How does this work? We have commissioned investment advisors to prepare a document showing investment opportunities and forecasts and we are also prepared to dive deep into those investments.

“Initially, we have six category A tourism sites including Ibadan Cultural Centre, Bower’s Tower, Eleyele Water Front, Idanre Hill, Iyamapo Hill and Iyake Suspended Lake.

“We have done our homework and we have the numbers. As you may already know, we have expectations for these locations and destinations. For example, our minimum expectation is that the Ibadan Cultural Center will be restored to its former glory and we expect the starting point for this investment to be about N1 billion.

“In fact, the entry point for each of these locations and destinations, which I will refer to as ‘The Focused Six’, will be approximately N250 million, with an expected profit margin of between 50 and 60 percent per annum, based on a five-year period. projection.

“We have engaged a renowned tourism consultancy firm to manage the track. So we have the location and marketing assessment for them, as well as the proposed project concept and financial assessment. One important thing is the role that government must play in promoting partnership that leads to sustainable development, and I know that when I speak to these investors later today, the question they will ask me is what we have to offer as a state government . .

“Under our PPA arrangement, the primary source of financing for the project is the private investor or development organization.”

Highlighting his government’s readiness to support investors, Governor Makinde said: “My brother sitting here, Mr. Kunle Afolayan, is one of our investors in a film village around Igbojaiye axis. One of the things he asked for was the road connection, which we promised to do. We are still working on it. We want to connect Ogbomoso zone to Oke-Ogun zone through Ogbomoso-Iseyin and the project will be commissioned in the next five weeks, May 30 to be precise.

“We started the link road to the Film Village from Iwajowa, Iwere-Ile and it runs all the way to Alaga and that will make the Film Village close to the people. He also complained about electricity, one of the legitimate biggest concerns for investors. We have installed a transformer there because we need to create an enabling environment and ease the burden on our investors so that they can focus on the core areas they want to invest in.”

In her welcome address, the Chairman of the Summit, Onikepo Akande, said the theme of the Summit, “Repositioning Tourism as an Engine for Development in Oyo State”, is timely as the state works to focus to a broader market of investors through projection of new face of tourism for sustainable development.

She added that if tourism is to increase internally generated revenue, it must be done continuously to grow the economy and development of the state for the benefit of the people.

In her remarks, the Minister of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, appreciated the Oyo State Government for highlighting the hidden treasures of the state through tourism, and assured of her ministry’s partnership to support in exploring out-of-state opportunities.

In his goodwill message, former Governor of Cross River State, who was also the Guest of Honour, Donald Duke, said tourism development encompasses all sectors to grow the economy and attract major investors to the state.

He noted that training people in the hospitality sector is very essential to add value so that the state becomes one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.

In their separate remarks, the Osun State Commissioner for Tourism, Ojo Abiodun, said; Former President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Bayo Oyero, and the National President of the Nigeria Association of Tourism Operators (NATOP), Ime Udo and the Alado of Ado Awaye, Oba Ademola Olugbile Folakanmi, commended the efforts of the Oyo State Government for awakening and developing tourist attractions and involving local investors.

They urged the government to continue prioritizing tourism to grow gross domestic product (GDP).