The annual World Tourism Day (WTD} celebration might have come and gone, but, in Ondo State the echoes of the day still reverberates.
The epoch making event On September 27 was spearheaded by the President and Founder of La Campagne Tropicana Beach, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, who is the strategic partner and consultant to Ondo State government on tourism development and also the promoter of Destination Ondo among others.
Series of activities were staged across the state in commemoration of the day, with Ondo town playing host to a workshop on carnival and festival costume making, which was in furtherance of the recently launched carnival and festival costumes making factory in Ondo, which is geared at making Ondo the hub and capital of carnival and festival costumes making in Africa.
Over 600 youths from across the state participated in the training workshop, which was organised freely for them by Destination Ondo. The training was conducted by Nigerian renowned model and fashion designer, Bayo Adegbe fondly known as Modela of Modela Couture. Three of the top designers at the training session won for themselves a cash prize of N1 million each for their unique designs. It was part of the youth empowerment and investment on youth entrepreneurs by the state government.
The celebration train later moved on to Idanre Hills in Idanre Town, one of the suffusing natural attractions of the state, which has been made into a thriving destination by the state government to continue with the celebration.
A ground breaking ceremony of La Campagne Tropicana Hills Resort was performed. This was heralded by sultry cultural and musical performances as well fashion parade with Atunda Band and Atunda models headlining the fun filled night.
One of the speakers during the night was the leader of the youths, who expressed appreciation to Akinboboye and the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, for the opportunity offered them to be engaged in constructive and economically benefiting ventures even as he made a commitment of devotion to the craft by the youths.
The celebrations climaxed at the governor’s office in Akure where the governor and other dignitaries were entertained by a rich display of cultural and musical performances.
The night’s offerings were signposted with the showcasing of an array of colourful and creative costumes made by the youths who had earlier been trained and equipped.
Impressed by the rich and enchanting costumes on display, Governor Akeredolu then formally declared the state as the “Hub of Carnival Costumes,” tasking the team led by Akinboboye, to continue in the path already established, promising them of the state government support in entrenching the project, which has already taken root.
Akeredolu has repeatedly spoken about his intention to tap into the huge potential in tourism and he reiterated this at the recent World Tourism Day celebration organised by the Ondo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with Elizade University Ilaramokin held At the University Law Auditorium.
Akeredolu who was represented at the programme by the Secretary to the state government chief (Mrs) Oladunni Odu also said the government will continue to partner with private sectors to improve tourism in the state.
“We have started on the journey of consolidating on the gains of building a tourism economy we started in our first term in office”
‘As you are aware, our glorious state is filled with many natural attractions. These attractions include an expanse of coastline of sandy beaches, countless mountains, rivers and the famous Idanre Hills, where mountains came to host a conference and then refused to leave.
Ondo State also has a rich cultural heritage that embraces unique music and dance. Our state must harness her natural features, culture and talents to create and operate a tourism and entertainment industry that focuses on showcasing the best of Ondo State’s culture and natural features while creating wealth and hope for our youths.’’ Akeredolu disclosed
Recall that September 27 is earmarked as World Tourism Day across the world, particularly by countries and communities were tourism is a serious business, the celebration under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), is dedicated to drawing global attention to the economic and socio –cultural as well as community development importance of tourism, which has remained the largest employer of labour.
The theme for the celebration, which is an all – year event, is ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ hence the participation of the state which is fast positioning itself to become the hub of tourism in the country and in Africa at large.