Michael Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Senator representing Kwara South in the Upper Chamber of the National Assemnly, Architect Lola Ashiru has sponsored over 200 tourists and tourism experts on a tour to some historical sites in the district.
In a move considered as step towards encouraging and developing tourism in the district, the tourists consists of 30 per cent students’ tourists as well as other tourism experts, were sponsored by Senator Ashiru under a Private Public Partnership (PPP) initiative.
The tour initiative was tagged: “Explore Kwara South Tourism Sites”.
Most of the students tourists were selected from the University of Ilorin and the Federal Polytechnic Offa.
The team of experts was led and coordinated by a tourism entrepreneur, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, Ankara Tours, Mrs Yetunde Jato.
The team visited Esie National Museum and Owu Water Falls, both in Irepodun and Owa-Onire in Ifelodun local government areas of the state.
Ashiru, represented by his legislative aide, Mr Benjamin Oyinloye, said the initiative was geared towards exposing the tourism potentials of the district beyond the state.
He said government alone could not shoulder the enormous responsibility of providing the basic necessities of the populace, hence the need for PPP to achieve the desired results in the tourism sector.
According to him, tourism development globally is always private public partnership driven and that is what he is using his good office to do.
“We are very optimistic that this initiative will further expose and open the tourism potentials of the district to the outside in anticipation of the enormous positive socio-economic return,” he said.
Addressing the team at Esie National Museum, the Curator, Mrs Mopelola Elizabeth, described the museum, established in 1875, as the first of its kind in the country.
She listed lack of good roads, inadequate patronage and infrastructure as part of the challenges confronting the museum.
Jato, the CEO Ankara Tours, in her own remarks, said the country was richly endowed with economic viable tourism sites and monuments, if well harnessed and developed.
According to her, she has been in the toursim bussiness for a while and has travelled and participated in many tourism projects across Africa and Middle-East.
“Nigeria is richly blessed as far as tourism is concerned and our partnership with Senator Ashiru is to fully explore and expose these potentials for our economic benefits,” she said.
Master Afeez Adeniyi and miss Stella Ajiboye, both students tourists, expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the tour and praised the organisers for their foresight.
It would be recalled that Ashiru had earlier led a team comprising officials, stalwarts and members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to some of the tourism sites in August.
The tour, he said, was to have a first hand knowledge of the status, operations and challenges confronting the essential monument sites, spread across the district.
He had also advocated for the establishment of a University of History and Archeology at Esie National Museum to boost the tourism sector in the country.