By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
Osun State government has restated its commitment to grow the state economy through tourism which, according to it, is one of the pillars to create wealth and massive employment for residents.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola made the assertion in Osogbo the state capital at the maiden edition of the year 2021 World Tourism Day Celebration with the theme” Tourism for Inclusive Growth: The Osun State perspective.”
He noted that his administration has been working tirelessly to grow and build the economy of the state tourism as applicable in some countries of the World.
The governor who spoke through the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Obawale Adebisi, noted that there are potential in Osun which if properly harnessed, can be a veritable source of revenue for the state and thereby reducing poverty among the people of the state.
Dr. Obawale further explained that government has engaged partners, especially the investors on the tourist sites especially those that have been for short term development such as Ayikunnugba Waterfall, Oluminrin Waterfall, Owala Dam and a host of others.
He used the opportunity to state some of the achievement of the State Government such as the launch of Vision 30-30, launch of wearing of a locally made fabric known as “Adire Osun” with the intention to revive the tie and die culture of Yoruba and grow the economy without necessarily waiting for Federal Government monthly allocation.
The Ila Orangun born politician, therefore, appealed to the people of Osun to collaborate with the Government so that its dream could come to pass.
Earlier in his opening speech, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Amoo Adebowale said, tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires the ability to adapt constantly to customers’ changing needs and desires, as the customer’s satisfaction, safety and enjoyment are particularly the focus of Tourism business.
He added that the industry has become a very significant engine for economic and sustainable growth in many countries, stressing that it is a necessity for development, diversification of the Nigeria economy, most especially, the Osun State economy and creation of jobs.
Chief Adebowale further stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had a massive social and economic impact the world over of which tourism industry is not excluded, while saying that with the advent of the COVID-19 vaccines and observance other protocols, tourism is coming back and picking up globally.
He admonished all the stakeholders to cooperate with government to contribute meaningfully to the growth of tourism in the state.
In their separate Paper Presentations, the likes of Dr. Nasiru Olawale, Dr. David Adedokun, Prof. Adisa Ogunfolakan, Prof. Ayo Omidire, Dr.Adekitan Kamoli, Otunba Ayo Olumoko explained that the purpose of choosing this year’s theme is to ensure that nobody is left behind as the World begins to open up again and look to future.
They advised Osun government to venture into organising skills training programme for the unemployed women and youth in the state to ensure nobody is left behind by creating enabling environment for economic growth and development, adding that tourism has major role in this area and is a recognized pillar of most of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly, no poverty, gender equality, decent work and economic growth among others.
The scholars further stated the importance of tourism to the state, noting that it’s powerful tool for change in the local community, particularly in social and cultural life.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Olona of Ada, Oba Ojo Oyetunde; the Chairman, House Committee on Culture, Tourism and Home Affairs at State House of Assembly, Hon. Adetoyi Adeyinka disclosed that government is doing everything possible to develop Tourism in the State by providing enabling environment like infrastructures and other facilities to the host communities.
They mentained that God loves Nigeria, especially the South/West in terms of natural endowment such as mountains, waterfalls and others which if properly herness, can make the State wealthy.
They enjoined the residents of Osun to join hands with Government, saying that Government alone cannot do it.
Present at the event were Scholars from Higher Institutions of learning in different part of the country, Cultural Groups, Tourism Associations, Hoteliers Association Management of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the State to mention but few.
The event featured entertainment by different group among many others.