Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has declared a state of emergency in the tourism sector to enable the state to immediately develop its tourism potentials.
Lalong made the declaration on Friday in Jos at the opening of the first ever Plateau Tourism Conference.
The theme of the conference is, “Unlocking the Vast Potentials of Tourism as a Financial Option for Sustainable Socio-economic Development.”
“I declare a state of emergency on tourism. This will enable us to give the desired attention to the speedy development of the industry into Nigeria’s home of peace and tourism,” he said.
The governor said that the state government had seen the need to provide critical infrastructure in its urban governance and rural transformation agenda.
He said that this was in consideration of the immense potentials that Plateau possessed and given the advantage of its all-year-round clement weather.
“The reason for this is simply to ensure that facilities are available across the state to make life easier for the various communities in the state, thereby, creating a visitor-friendly community throughout the state.
“We are indeed very proud as a state to host today’s conference, considering our comparative advantage over every other state in Nigeria in terms of our tourism endowments.
“It is quite significant that we are hosting this conference at a time that there is the urgent need for an inclusive and participatory tourism development roadmap,” he stated.
Lalong said that the roadmap involved the communities through their development associations, local government councils, the state government, the private sector and all critical stakeholders in the tourism value chain.
He added that the conference was also significant because it could stimulate understanding and support efforts toward building a culture of peace which was very critical in development process.
The governor said that mobilising all stakeholders to work together would culminate in making tourism a formidable catalyst for positive change.
According to him, the event was an open attestation of the tourism credentials of Plateau and a greater affirmation of the commitment of his administration to the development of the sector.
Mrs Tamwakat Weli, Commissioner, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, said that Plateau was blessed with natural, unique and captivating sites.
Weli listed the sites to include rocks, waterfalls, lakes, hills, valleys, zoological gardens, scenic beauty, wild life and caves.
She added that the state was blessed with rich and impressive cultural heritage, enhancing climate and most of all, alluring hospitality of its people.
“The abundance of tourism resources gave the state the appellation ‘The Home of Peace and Tourism’ and the ‘miniature Nigeria,” she said.
The commissioner said that the appellation had over the years placed the state at a focal position in the committee of tourism states.