Osun, Webisco Partner On Tourism Resort In Ikirun
The government of Osun State and a private tourism investor, Chief Mrs. Margaret Bolanle Fabiyi are to partner on the development of a world-class tourism resort in Ikirun.
The project, which is being fine-tuned, will cost billions of Naira and when completed, serve as one-stop centre for leisure, hospitality, entertainment, shopping, conference business and tours.
The resort, presumably second to none in Nigeria, will also have agricultural component to grow agric tourism and residential houses in addition to creating room for service providers, hospital, school, jetty, helipad and filling station among other facilities.
Speaking with travel writers in Lagos, Mrs. Fabiyi, popularly called, Webisco, said a project of this magnitude would certainly address the problem of unemployment as it would create jobs and generate revenue for the state in the face of stifling economic condition caused by the fall of crude oil price at the world market.
She disclosed that efforts were being made to complete the land acquisition and documentation, adding that the state government should do the needful by showing above average commitment financially and otherwise to birth the resort.
“We have acquired a 25 sq km land in Ikirun, Osun State for the development of a one-stop tourism resort second to none in Nigeria yet. The land was facilitated by H.R.H the Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Rauf Olawale.
The resort, when developed, will have parks, hospital, school, residential buildings, jetty, filling station, business outlets, conference centre etc.
We are working out the modalities and would make an appropriate comment on its update when we have sorted out the grey arrears.”
Mrs. Fabiyi, who is an active member of most tourism and travel organizations in Nigeria, including Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) is a leading member and country liaising officer for Africa Travel Association (ATA) with headquarters in New York, U.S.A.
“As we continue to invest our individual efforts in promoting and marketing tourism in our country we hope that very soon, we will begin to reap the dividends. A trip by President Barack Obama, for instance, would drive heavy traffic to this country. Although we will not bank on that, given that his tenure is running fast, we are committed to continuously promoting our country as the home of hospitality in West Africa. She informed that as part of her effort to open up the country to influx of tourists that a team of travel writers from the United States is expected in the country for the second familiarization tour being packed by her in collaboration with the federal government to promote tourism in Nigeria.
“For the FAM Trip, we would get in touch with the facilitators so that we would not be taken unawares when ministers, yet to be appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, assume duty. She hoped to use WIFWETN her NGO, to do the needful by liaising with the authorities to ensure that the trip is done to the glory of God and the benefit of every Nigerian.
Commenting on the security challenges in the country, she remarked that there is no country in the world without security challenges. She however, pledged to ensure that the guests are protected during their visit and exposed only to our tourism wealth, to supply them with limitless information of our potentials, because there is the need to move from tourism potential to prosperity now that oil price has become something else.
Dwelling on the familiarisation trip Mr. Fabiyi declared: “because of my background, experience and commitment, I see our stabilizing democratic governance as good omen to sustain this zeal by organizing yet another Fam Trip, this time, travel writers in the US, about 10 of them plan to come to Nigeria as soon as we are ready. They will spend 12 days in all. The move is in partnership with VALinc PR, to compliment what Nigeria tourism writers have been doing and to create a window and a sustainable gateway for the world to see and appreciate our potentials. So the trip is a deliberate effort to expose top media outlets to travel, vacation and cultural opportunities here and to create a rich itinerary and present to the Americans a balanced package of our endowments. They would like to experience firsthand the old traditional Nigeria, visit local producers of food, art, fashion, culinary, nightlife, entertainment, tourist sites, beaches and historical monuments. The trip, all other things being equal, will be reciprocated by us, and would also involve a US road show, meetings with appropriate media and business leaders in target areas such as Harlem, and Brooklyn in New York, Atlanta Georgia, Washington DC, Chicago, Illinois etc.
“Those expected to come include Fathom Away, Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast Traveller, GQ, Time, New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune and Cuisine Noir. As much as we would benefit immensely from this trip, the cost implication is great and so WIFTWEN cannot carry this burden alone and would seek the sponsorship and partnership of the Federal and State governments to execute this project in the coming months.
“As we wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint his ministers, we hope that our minister will have the industry at heart and create more than the enabling environment for tourism to thrive in Nigeria. Our endorsement will be updated and necessary contacts made with governments of Lagos, Osun, FCT, Kogi, Edo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River to create a soft landing for this project.
“Miss Elizabeth Scott is here to find out and assess our preparations for the FAM Trip. She flew in from the US on Tuesday and has had some local dishes apart from other useful experiences and contacts. Her trip is to demonstrate the commitment of the Americans to the project and advised on how best to package a success.”