The ancient town of Benin City, Edo State, is famous for its artistry, rich history and cultural wealth. It’s bronze and wood carvings adorn various spaces the world over as they also draw a wide range of local and international visitors to the state. It is the same way the Okpekpe Mountain Race which holds in the northern part of the state has become an event
The annual Igue Festival celebrated in the yuletide, the Igbabonelimi masquerade display and the Aba Festival among others are to be upgraded to attract more tourists to the state. Also, the Benin Moat, Okpekpe Mountain Race will be boosted for touristic and employment benefits, from which the government projects will create some 200, 000 job opportunities.
There are plans to make rivers in the state, like Ikpoba Orhionmwon, Ovia, Ogba, Ikpboba into world class beaches. These are some of the 58 sites identified for turnaround.
In order to make these endowments even more attractive and worth the visit, the Edo State government has come up with the Alaghodaro Investment Summit. Alaghodaro which means ‘progress’ will feature a special session on the arts, culture and tourism sector.
Optimistic about the plans and returns they could bring, Governor Godwin Obaseki while speaking at the 2017 World Tourism Day, said, “We have the best climate for investments in flora and fauna, zoo, green parks, gardens and wildlife parks. Our location in Nigeria is strategic as you can access any part of the country with ease by land, water or air and we have clearly one of the richest cultures which is a major source of pride to Edo people.”
In order for these to work, the state’s intra-city transport system is being rehabilitated.
A statement said, “The revamp of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA), the ongoing adjustments of passengers’ pick up and drop off points by taxis and buses in the state and the removal of barriers to free movement in Benin City are deliberate measures taken to deliver a socially sane city and prepare the state for the execution of the state’s transport master plan.
“To provide the administrative framework for a more robust tourism sector, a tourism master plan is in the works and on completion, will provide clear guidelines for the participation of the various levels of government; federal, state and local, and role of the private sector, so that Edo State will receive its share of the over $1 trillion revenues that tourist destinations get yearly.
“The institutional framework of the tourism master plan will support the ranking and grading of our hotels, restaurants, and other recreation and leisure places, to compete favourably with similar facilities in the best tourist destinations across the world.”