Osun State Government has said a wholehearted development of the state’s tourism master plan, in collaboration with Sterling Bank Plc, would play a significant role in creating more employment and improving the standard of living of the people in Osun State.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, who said this at the launching of the Osun State Tourism Master Plan: Culture and Tourism for Sustainable Economy (CUTOSEC) in Osogbo over the weekend, assured that the state government is determined to transform the economy of the state through huge investment in culture and tourism, enough to rival the United Arab Emirates.
He said the state government would provide leadership in the domestic tourism sector by integrating workable culture and tourism policies into the state’s economic agenda. According to him, the tourism master plan has a comprehensive template to implement the state’s economic diversification programme and improve its internally generated revenue.
Governor Oyetola said, “As tourism progressively raises its profile in national economic planning, there is a clear need to ensure that attention is paid to its long-term development potential. Such an approach demands comprehensive strategic planning for the industry’s future. As a government, we are keying into that by laying a solid foundation for a better tourism sector in Nigeria.
“Our development plan for tourism involves two-time horizons – the short and long terms. While Osun Sterling Tourism Vision (OSTOV) 30-30 is our short term agenda that we wish to achieve to lay a solid foundation for the perfect growth of tourism in the state, CUTOSEC is the long-term plan that will build on the achievements of OSTOV 30-30 for a permanent development of tourism.
“All our efforts today are to bring investors to this state for a mutually beneficial engagement. Given its importance, the state has produced an investment manual, developed a unique tourism investment model and published available investment opportunities in our sites like Olumirin Waterfall, Ayikunnugba Waterfall, Owala River, Kiriji War site and other viable locations as part of the CUTOSEC document.”
The governor disclosed that the state government has resolved to develop a home-grown Public Private Partnership (PPP) investment model that will take care of the immediate needs of stakeholders while also pledging a promising future for participants.
He said the PPP model addresses the key issues of land, reward system and tax matters, among others, adding that the model provides the basis of relationship with communities, employment and social responsibility to the community while the state government remains open for negotiations on its offer.
Regional Business Executive, South West, Sterling Bank, Mr. Ademola Adeyemi, remarked that the OSTOV vision is dear and close to the heart of his bank because it will create jobs, enable economic growth and improve the quality of life of Osun State.
“At Sterling Bank, we believe the private sector has a critical role to play in supporting the effort of government to enhance the quality of life of the people, create jobs, and a future of shared prosperity for all. It is for this reason that we are championing the private sector drive to trigger a revolution in the travel and tourism sector in the State of Osun and Nigeria at large. Tourism, as we all know, is an economic and social phenomenon which drives inclusive development and environmental sustainability. It is a powerful poverty reduction tool that creates presents special opportunities for all, including the poor and disadvantaged,” Adeyemi disclosed.
In his address of welcome, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Adebisi Obawale, said the abundant opportunities in the heritage of the people and the inherent benefits in exposing them to tourists motivated the government to prioritise the tourism sector as one of the economic pillars to drive the state’s economy.
Obawale said a team of investors and financial Institutions visited the state a few months ago to assess some of the tourist attractions and they were impressed by the enormous human, cultural and natural endowments available. Consequently, the team expressed a willingness and commitment to develop the state’s tourism attractions to world-class destinations, he said.
In his keynote address, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitayo Ogunmodede, noted that Osun State is blessed with sites and institutions that will delight tourists any day. He advised the state government to embark on urgent refurbishment and expansion of existing infrastructure such as road networks, telecommunication coverage, hotel, and hospitality facilities.