Akwa Ibom Pledges Support for BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative Ahead of Executive Council’s Inauguration, May 23 At Ibom Icon And Golf Resort.

As the pioneer south-south destination management organisation, BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI) gets set to inaugurate its executive council at the Ibom Icon and Golf Resort, Uyo, May 23, the state commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Sir. Charles Udoh has pledged the support of the government for the regional body with membership cutting across Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, and Delta states.

Hon. Charles Udoh who made the commitment when the chairman of the central inauguration planning committee of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative, Bassey Esu, a Professor of Tourism, Hospitality and marketing from the University of Calabar, led a delegation of the body to visit him in his office in Uyo, recently, lauded Governor Umoh Bassey Eno for his visionary leadership in positioning Akwa Ibom on the global tourism map.

He assured the delegation of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative of Akwa Ibom State’s commitment to advancing the cause of tourism through regional effective collaboration among the BRACED states, just as he outlined some tourism development initiatives of the governor, which include the procurement of a 90-seater air-conditioned boat, among other tourism infrastructures meant to promote coastal and marine tourism to enhance accessibility and safety of tourists.

The Tourism Commissioner who applauded the vision of the pioneer regional destination management organisation, called on BRACED Commission, set up by the South South governors to promote economic cooperation and regional integration to reinvigorate its efforts towards uplifting the standard of living of the people of the region through partnerships and meaningful stakeholder engagements.

According to the commissioner, “if we come together, we can bake a bigger and better cake. We must stand together to grow and promote our heritage and cultural sites. My prayer is that God should not let unhealthy rivalry to set in among the south-south states”, even as he emphasized the importance of grassroots awareness and capacity building in driving sustainable tourism growth in the oil-rich region.

Sir. Charles Udoh highlighted some tourism development initiatives such as staff training programmes like the recent training event that took place in China, emphasising on the need for youth participation in the ongoing African Youth Innovates Programme to address tourism challenges as well as foster innovation within the industry.

While throwing his weight behind a proposed south south tourism roundtable initiative by the BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative, Sir. Udoh assured the delegation that the state governor would stop at nothing to ensure that Akwa Ibom becomes a preferred tourism destination in the country and beyond.

Earlier, the Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI), Professor Bassey Esu of the Department of Tourism, Hospitality, and Marketing at the University of Calabar, who also doubles as chairman of the upcoming Executive Council Inauguration on May 23 at the Ibom Icon & Golf Resort, Uyo, emphasized the need for collective action among stakeholders, reiterating that fragmented nature of previous tourism development efforts by individual states has become the bane of tourism development in the south south region.

Professor Esu further noted that BTPDI’s mission was to unify the region’s tourism stakeholders, with a view to presenting one cohesive south south destination to the world, just as he highlighted the untapped tourism potential that abound in the Niger Delta region such as the diverse landscapes, ranging from wildlife, local cuisines, historic sites, pristine coastlines to forests, hills and the amiable people.

According to the professor of tourism, hospitality and marketing, “since there is no recognized regional body that is talking about these untapped natural resources, BTPDI has come to fill the gap, first to develop a regional destination tourism policy where we can develop common tourism products and share skills and technology together as a strong tourism market.”

Prof. Bassey Esu told the Hon. commissioner for Culture and Tourism that BTPDI has a pool of tourism experts who are well experienced in various areas of expertise as members of the board of trustees, saying that central to BTPDI’s agenda is the establishment of a regional tourism masterplan aimed at fostering collaboration to develop common tourism products, and to facilitate knowledge sharing among the BRACED states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta.

During the meeting, participants stressed the importance of integrating tourism education into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools in the region to cultivate awareness among young people from an early age. BTPDI pledged support in providing curriculum materials and training for tourism educators.

Prof. Esu noted that BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative chose Uyo as the regional headquarters of the body in acknowledgement of Akwa Ibom State’s pivotal role in tourism development and integration, pointing out that the government’s past investments in tourism developments were a living testimony to every visitor to the state.

Professor Esu used the occasion to respectfully invite the Hon. Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Sir Charles Udoh to be physically present at the event which would mark the official inauguration of the first executive council, scheduled to hold on the May, 23, 2024 by 10am at Ibom Icon & Golf Resort, Uyo also intimated him about intention of the body to host a south south tourism roundtable in Uyo immediately after the pioneer inauguration of executive council of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative.

The meeting concluded on a positive note, with both parties expressing optimism for future collaboration and partnership with a view to fostering meaningful stakeholder engagements aimed at creating transformative impact on the south south tourism landscape.

The meeting also served as a platform for reflection and collaborative brainstorming among tourism professionals, aimed at harnessing the tourism potential across the south south region of Nigeria.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *