The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state is set to boost its inbound tourism figures with the planned hosting of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in October this year and the 2020 edition of the National Sports Festival.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said that the state is also optimistic about hosting the FIFA U-20 Female Football tournament also billed for next year, following the endorsement of sports facilities in the state by the world football governing body, FIFA.
Osagie noted: “Tourism is one of the priority sectors currently receiving attention of the Obaseki-led administration. We have huge tourism assets that the state government is committed to developing and NAFEST will offer us the opportunity to parade these assets to investors and tourists.
“The National Sports Festival is yet another fiesta that will attract sportsmen, women, sports enthusiasts and investors to the state. What is instructive is that Edo State is fast-becoming a highly sought-after destination for national and international events.”
He explained that, “The preference for Edo State is predicated on the several reforms that the Obaseki-led administration is executing across several sectors which have repositioned the state for sustainable development.”
According to the governor’s aide, “Intra-city transportation within the state is now seamless with key players like Uber, Bolt and other local actors leveraging the massive road infrastructure being developed in all the senatorial districts of the state.”
Osagie added: “We are rated highly in the ease of doing business index and our high sense of hospitality has been referenced by the millions of people that have been to our state.
“The governor appreciates the power of the tourism sector in creating employment, attracting investment from other climes no matter how far flung, and guaranteeing quality life for everyone that taps into any aspect of the tourism value chain.
“The reconstruction of the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is nearing completion and we are committed to constructing 20 new mini-stadia across the state to serve as training grounds for our youths who need such facilities to hone their sporting talent.”
Urging residents of the state to brace up for an eventful season in the state’s tourism calendar, Osagie said, all sectors of the state will benefit from these events.
“NAFEST is clearly the country’s biggest assemblage of craftsmen and women, art collectors and enthusiasts, restaurateurs that will exhibit several African cuisines, visual artists, dancers that will represent the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) amongst others.
“Our hotels will swell with guests in their thousands during the period, our transporters, bronze casters, bead makers, will witness a bullish trend and smile to the banks with more money.”
He added: “So I urge the key players in the art and craft sector to see the festival as a huge fair that will put a lot of money in their pockets and bank accounts. They should be ready to exhibit the best of their creative works during the period.