Benue, NIHOTOUR Unite to Grow Tourism

Abuja — WITH ceaseless drop in the price of crude oil in the international market, some states have begun to explore other revenue generation sources. And for Benue State, tourism has a lot to offer considering numerous products and destinations the state is blessed with. Yet, the step towards developing the potentials must begin with manpower development.

But the process of building the capacity took a definite dimension last week with the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) - the establishment saddled with the responsibility of training hospitality and tourism operators.

The MoU was to guide and facilitate the establishment of the branch of NIHOTOUR in the state.

The event, which held in Benue State House, Abuja, had the Director General, NIHOTOUR, Mrs. Chika Balogun, Benue State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Sekav Dzua Iyortyom, and Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom in attendance.

He added that with the continuous fall in the price of crude oil coupled with projections of future decline, it was expected that states should take quick actions towards economic stability by exploring areas where they have comparative advantages.

His words: "This is a right step in the right direction and we must thank NIHOTOUR for the passion and initiatives. As at yesterday, the price of crude oil was $28 per barrel, the possibility of coming down more is there and going by the projections made by both OPEC and IMF, it is likely to fall below $20 per barrel.

"So, that calls for quick action and quick means of adding value to our economy. There is need for the country to diversify its economy; this is a right step in the right direction.

"And for us in Benue State, we have several areas where we have comparative advantage. They include agricultural, solid minerals, tourism and culture.

"No doubt, hospitality and tourism is one area where we have very big advantage and we are happy that you are coming in at this time".

The governor stressed the need for capacity building in tourism and hospitality. With well-equipped manpower, Ortom said tourism should be one of the ways out of Nigeria's economic challenges.

He therefore, assured NIHOTOUR of every necessary assistance to ensure that the project takes off as soon as possible. "On our part, we shall do everything possible to ensure this programme takes off as soon as possible. We assure you of our commitment", he added.

Mrs. Balogun, said the decision to cite the Institute in the state was motivated by the enthusiasm the government of the state has shown towards tourism development.

Noting that hospitality thrives in quality service delivery, there was need for trained and experienced tourism personnel or operators to help drive the vision of the state.

"Hospitality is all about service delivery. So, we need trained and experienced personnel to drive the industry. Benue State is adjudged one of the most hospitable states in Nigeria - I can say one of the first three in the country.

"These are evidence in their rich and variety cuisine, excellent dance culture as well hospitable people. I witnessed all these in my recent visit to the state and I still look forward to going for those wonderful experiences again".

The DG added,"it is to be commended that in your wisdom, you have decided to take tourism very seriously and have decided to do it in a scientific way so as to get desire result.

"Also, you have realized that the bedrock of hospitality and tourism is trained and efficient manpower that will run the sector.

With Benue State adjudged one of the most hospitable states in Nigeria, it has the capacity to develop like some notable tourism destinations across the world," she said.

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By 9jatravel / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Jan 22, 2016

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