Africa: Plateau State woos tourism and travel investors with massive upgrade of infrastructures

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The Plateau State government has said it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the state is repositioned as the preferred tourists’ destination in Nigeria.

The government said one of the policy trusts of the state was the provision of greater infrastructure and the development of a sustainable environment for the growth of tourism in the state.

Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, who spoke at the just concluded Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), AGM 2018, with theme: “Security Challenges and Promotion of Tourism in Nigeria” held at the Hill Station Hotel, Jos, stated that the administration upon assumption of office unveiled a five policy trust governance intervention agenda noting that peace, security and good governance was the first item on the list.

The governor who was ably represented by his deputy, Professor Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, said the security of lives and property in an environment of peace is one of the primary concern of government adding that it is the fulcrum upon which it desires to promote the attainment of a sustainable environment.

He said given the immense tourism potentials the state is endowed with coupled with the temperate weather which the state is known for, government saw the need to provide critical infrastructure in its urban governance and rural transformation agenda.

He said: “Upon assumption of office about three years ago our administration unveiled a five policy trust governance intervention agenda. The first item on this agenda is peace, security and good governance.

And the fifth is the provision of greater infrastructure and the development of a sustainable environment. The security of lives and property in an environment of peace as a primary concern of government is the fulcrum upon which we desire to promote the attainment of a sustainable environment.

“Where anarchy and terror remains the order of the day no meaningful development can be attained much less the creation of a tourist friendly environment. Your professional services as travel and tour operators in the tourism sector is enhanced essentially through the guarantee of peace and security which we are committed to provide.

“Further to this and considering the immense potentials that Plateau possess, given the advantage of an all year round climate weather, government saw the need to provide critical infrastructure in its urban governance and rural transformation agenda. The reason for this is simply to ensure that facilities are available across the state to make life easier for the various communities in the state and the community of visitors who are leisure or transit tourists would be passing through the state.

“The Plateau State ministry of tourism, culture and hospitality together with all our subsidiary agencies have in the last two years made concerted efforts to ensure that through the annual cultural and entertainment event tourism which have held in the state, that activities are created to keep Plateau State in the tourism calendar events of the country. The Plateau State carnival, road show and music fiesta are experiencing and receiving national recognition and I can assure you it will soon rival and possibly surpass other carnivals in the country.

“Plateau State is also on record to have hosted the boat sport carnival which held last year and we will soon be looking forward to expanding on this potential in the area of other sports. The mountain hiking, high altitude sport and other such exotic sports that fall within the sport tourism sector are gaining relevance by the day. Furthermore, we are providing a conducive environment for the promotion of tourism as can be seen in our concerted effort at developing tourist sites within the state,” he said.

Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Plateau State, Mrs Tamwakat Weli who spoke at the event affirmed the preparedness of the state to partner with investors for the growth of the tourism sector in the region.

She said despite the negative impression and utterances being peddled in the media, the event is an attestation of the peaceful nature of Jos adding that the people are also receptive and warm to visitors.

Tamwakat added that Plateau State is known as the home of peace and tourism in Nigeria because it is second to none in terms of God given natural endowments and attractions for tourism.

According to her, the state government is serious on the development of tourism in the state that is why there is massive investment on road network infrastructure.

The Commissioner pointed out that the administration has put in place both institutional and organisational frameworks to engender and encourage Public Private Partnership (PPP), in the tourism and hospitality sector.

She said: “Despite the negative impression and utterances in our dear state, it is a thing of joy that you are here to experience for yourselves the accommodating potentials of our dear state. On behalf of the hospitable people of the state, the most endowed state, the height of the nation, home to the entertainment firm, and sports industries, homes to both exotic and birds, fruits and vegetables, flowers and plants, the melting pot and the home to all Nigerians and other nationalities, I warmly welcome all of you to Jos, the capital of the beautiful state called Plateau.

“The administration is serious on the development of tourism in the state and that is why there is massive investment on road network infrastructure. Additionally, the administration has put in place both institutional and organisational frameworks to engender and encourage public private partnership in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Recently the state signed Mou for long term leases of Jos hotel with private sector investors. We are currently in discussion with other private sector investor wishing to lease other government owned hotels and tourist attractions in the state. Plateau state is ready and open for serious tourist investment and patronage. “

Earlier in his address, the past President of NATOP, Mr Nkereuwem Onung said the state is not recognized as the home of Peace and Tourism for nothing, as it boasts and houses a number of tourist attractions and worthy sites that will excite both local and international tourists.

He stated that the tourist sites of Plateau makes the state a one stop centre for Tourism and leisure.

Onung added that the tour of some tourist sites by members of NATOP before the AGM has “afforded us professionals and Journalists first-hand experience of what the city of Jos and Plateau as a whole has to offer.”

By Friday Nwosu

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