DELTA STATE TOURISM ON MY MIND – by Chibuikem Diala

Who Says Delta State Tourism Can’t Be Among Forbes List of Best Places To Visit?

If there is any state that ought to get its act right on tourism, that state is Delta. So much within yet, little to show for it. So much culture, arts, festivals, hospitality, uncommon foodies, great location, ecotourism, peaceful, fun loving people. I mean, so much potentials for one state.

Yet, harnessing these potentials into rewarding ventures has proven difficult. Its either the government is not interested or the people directly involved lack the initiative, and the will to drive such an important sector that is turning sub national governments into wealthy communities.

For instance, cities like Kigali are not anywhere comparable to Delta State in terms of natural and man made potentials. Not even in terms of wealth, culture and traditions. Just this week, the City of Kigali made it to the Forbes’ list of the 20 best places to visit in 2020.

According to the Rwandan New Times, “the exclusive list, drawn up based on sales and client aspirations. The paper reports that Judy Stein, president of the Stein Collective, an affiliate of Ovation Travel Group, noted that people should visit Kigali to witnesses its dramatic success since the end of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Judy Stein said that “Kigali is clean, safe and filled with enlightening cultural experiences from world-class modern art galleries to fashion, local crafts and even a coffee co-op run by women making the world’s best coffee,”

According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) 1.7 million people visited Rwanda in 2018, representing an 8 per cent growth from the previous year. Kigali as a city (state) in Rwanda has a population less than 1million while Delta state has over 4million population.

There is urgent need to invest and develop domestic tourism potentials into viable development projects, such that will help create employment, sustain peace, inspire creativity, create wealth and fuller lives for the people of the state and other tourists, families and individuals who are willing to explore. Our population can drive massive tourism receipts.

Imagine, the amount of revenue that can accrue to the state if existing tourism sites are developed and MANAGED properly and without CLANNISH mentality. Imagine what will happen if the right investments are made in the area of ecotourism, Festivals, etc.

Therefore, in helping to successfully drive the Delta State tourism, some key strategies come to mind including- developing a Strategic Blueprint for Hospitality and Tourism Development in the state that includes a sustainable MICE Strategy, Cultural Tourism, Souvenir Markets, Knowledge Tourism, Festivals, Food Fair, etc will do a lot of good

Only what is required is the right vision by the Government, focused leadership (Commissioner) innovation and professionalism (policy makers and civil servants) in the tourism sector, eschew envy and backbiting as experienced in the system and developing robust partnership with the private sector. Tourism and hospitality is practical and experiential. The impact is not only seen, it is felt, appraised and appreciated by the tourist and other users.

We (IHTEF) have also put in personal efforts towards this. Asides being a part of the hospitality sector, we have also tried to inspire the sector via our modest contributions using the IHTEF Platform.

For instance, in 2016, The International Hospitality, Tourism and Eco-Sustainability Forum (IHTEF) was launched in Asaba. The link below is the speech by His Excellency, Governor Okowa’s speech at the event where he was properly represented by the Deputy Governor- http://thepointernewsonline.com/?p=44310.

It is important to mention that IHTEF is currently in its 5th edition (moved to Abuja) and has become a national platform for collaboration for the industry.

We are still hopeful that the views expressed at the IHTEF 2016 event by His Excellency will be developed and delivered such that Delta will become a world class tourism destination in Africa. The world is waiting for us.

#StrongerDelta
#SmartDelta

Chibuikem Diala, CEO Sustainable Eco6tem is the Executive Director, IHTEF Africa. He is very passionate about Sustainability with focus on Sustainable Tourism and Eco-Sustainability in Africa. He believes Green Economy, Green Hospitality will drive the economy of the future (govchibuikem@gmail.com)

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