It was harvests of cheers and encomiums for Ekiti State Chapter of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) yesterday, at a grand occasion of its annual conference held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State Capital.

The body which has received official endorsement of the State government through the office of Bureau of Tourism Development to operate in Ekiti, used the occasion to send a clear message to the unsuspecting members of the public to steer clear of the nefarious activities of faked travel agents and scammers parading themselves as travel agencies.

Recognizing the key components of travel and tourism industry, the Association enlisted the support of critical stakeholders in the industry such as the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Civil Defence Service Corps and Federal Road Service Corps amongst other security agencies all of whom were ably represented at the August occasion.

Held at Peace House, off NTA Road Ado Ekiti with the Theme: EKITI TOURISM DEVELOPMENT, DAWN OF A NEW ERA, the program drew participants from critical stakeholders from hospitality industry, security personnels, delegates from Culture Ministry, transport unions amongst others.

In his keynote address, the DG Ekiti Bureau of Tourism Development Amb. Wale Ojo-Lanre thanked the organizers of the event for adhering strictly to the regulation as allowed by the laws governing their operations in the state saying that the theme of the occasion resonated well with the policy thrust of the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji who he described as ‘Tourism friendly Governor”

His words; “Ekiti is a landlocked State. We don’t have seas but we have something else, we have tourism, we have culture, we have values, we have etiquette and we have morale.

“Besides all these, we have geographic tourism because Ekiti is blessed with so many hills because there’s no town in Ekiti that doesn’t have a hill. If you leave the popular Redeemed Camp along Lagos Ibadan expressway up to Ibeju-Lekki, there’s no hill or rock anywhere but this is not the case here as I repeat there’s no town in Ekiti that doesn’t have at least a hill and that goes to say this physical feature is our unique selling point” he remarks
The renowned Tourism enthusiast listed other aspects of tourism that abound in Ekiti as religious tourism, festivas such as Osun festival, Ogun and Ifa to mention but a few.
“So on the concept behind the topic of a new dawn was the vision of Governor Biodun Oyebanji because he realized that for us to have a good tourism development in the state there must be security and I’m happy that those security operatives here present can testify to his efforts on security. He knows that for Ekiti to be a good tourism destination, the roads should be good and he’s not only working on internal roads alone but he’s equally working on what we called ring road so as to make traveling to Ekiti more easier for visitors. Just two days ago, we had an approval that Ekiti State must produce the best domesticated tourism Development Master plan”

Speaking on his special relationship with the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Ojo-Lanre reiterated the relevant law which states that anybody who wants to transact business of travel agency must first of all register the Association with the government which had been adhered to by NANTA.
“Why I said it’s a new dawn in Ekiti is because Governor is ready to do all he can do about road networks, security, welfare and also setting up the Tourism Development Bureau which is poised to work with all sectors because tourism is about culture, heritage, environment, health amongst others. So it’s a new dawn” he concluded.
One of the high points of the memorable event was the presentation of awards to the CEO Shores Travel, Mr Ola Babafemi, Otunba Babatunde Adesokan, Vice President Western Zone, Prince Olaleye Abiodun, PRO, Western Zone.
Others are: Chief Joseph Falope, JP, NURTW Chairman, Prince Banji Adelusi representing Ministry of Culture, representatives of NSDC, EWA ASA, NIS, EKSU Tourism, and Yusuf Sikiru Olanrewaju, NANTA, Ekiti State Coordinator.

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