Delta State: Making The Most Of Tourists Attractions

BY AKPODHOMA MIKE

STUDIES have shown that tourism serves to bring in foreigners, who spend significantly and contribute directly and indirectly to virtually every aspect of a nation’s and state’s economy. Tourism development often results in increased revenue to government through rates and other charges. In addition, it is becoming increasingly common for people who visit tourist centres and are impressed with the area to return as residents, thereby increasing demand for other services.
A thriving tourism industry supports growth in other sectors such as transport, construction, agriculture and retail. As tourism increases, there are more opportunities for small scale businesses to develop too. The expectations and needs of visitors can often lead to the creation of new businesses and commercial activities. This builds a more diverse economic base and reduces reliance on what can be called traditional industries, and dependence of oil revenue.
How do you justify the recent experience where the Nigerian media, in interviewing a suspect in an alleged forgery, chose to publish his comments on other non-essentials, rather than his blatant refusal to answer questions on the ulcerous allegation against him, at a press conference he called? How do you justify a situation where outside of poor presentation finesse (language use particularly), the Nigerian mass media still mistake homonymous words, use presently to mean now; take ruling for judgment and halt for stop?
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It comes with a serenity that only an African jungle can offer. The facility, from close observations, beautifully expresses the undiluted beauty of nature. The location of this facility helps to make it an irresistible place to explore.

The beach is famous for its natural flowing spring water, sports, recreational facilities for outdoor activities like swimming, canoeing, fishing, picnicking and so on. This is because it is a beautiful water beach resort with one of the clearest and cleanest rivers around the region.

The river known as the Ethiope River which provided this enabling environment is reputed to be the deepest inland waterway in Africa, has its source at the foot of a giant silk-cotton tree at Umuaja in Ukwuani Local Government Area. It then flows through seven Local Government Areas in the state and runs at a considerate speed from its source; eight kilometres from MaCarthy Beach. The water is clean and clear and flows over sharp white sand, creating a wonderful and inviting place for swimming, boating, fishing and relaxation.

Gordon River Resort is in a class of its own with a practical display of nature at its best. The vegetation of the place is beholding for holiday makers, who cannot afford to ignore the breathtaking sights of the environment that is surrendered by the finest water. It is described by regular visitors as one of the world’s best kept secrets. It has one major restaurant that serve local and international cuisines, several Mini and VIP suits, Terrace Bar at the main building; perfect for evening relaxation, including a pavilion at the back entrance of the breach beside a sport mini houses with huge gardens blooming with exotic tropical plants, children’s playground, sports bar,cabanas, volleyball court, beach football ground covered with white sands, running tracks and boats for rowing tours along the river banks.

At the main entrance of the beach, shops for Ice cream, pop corn, shawama, wine and Photo-studio give you a taste of another community outside a community. According to the CEO, Hotel & Catering Services, Mr. Matthew they have been running hospitality service for over 42yeaes; therefore when the idea of Gordon Resort Hotel came, they quickly commenced work due to the topographical location of the place and the Ethiope River, which also served as tourist attraction was uniquely placed to take advantage of the tourism potentials of the luxuriant and natural phenomena that are in the Ethiope River.

Going by its vast natural endowments and potentials, there is no reason for the state government or big investors to downplay on projects of this kind. The only possible cause of this could just be that Delta State is not making the most of its potentials. In fact, it is sad to note that, apart from few states like Cross River State, Akwa Ibom, Lagos State, nothing significant is being done by other states to boost tourism activities in their state. Delta State for instance has scores of attractions that are simply compelling. Fascinating palaces, historic sites, monuments, birthplaces of famous people, traditional festivals, crafts centres – name it.
We have the Otuogu Beach in Asaba, Okpuzu Fall, in Ibusa, the Isha Festival at Ewulu, Araya Bible site, spot where the Holy Bible is believed to have descended to miraculously from heaven around August, 1914. The site now attracts thousands of Christian Pilgrims. Chief Nana palace koko is a Living History Museum, the only one in Nigeria. It was built by Chief Nana Olomu of Ebrohim. The lyiada Valley, Ogwashi-Uku, the Residency, Asaba. The first Headquarters of the Royal Niger Company etc.

There is, therefore, the need to create and develop these tourism-oriented centres, built around our many unique cultural heritages, like the Calabar Carnival, which has been dubbed ‘Africa’s Biggest Street Party’, founded as part of a vision to make Cross River State a major tourist destination for Nigerians and foreigners.
During the countdown programme, the Lagos Bar Beach, which is one of the country’s tourist centres, became a beehive of major commercial and leisure activities, just like what is seen in the Caribbean, with thousands of domestic and foreign visitors thronging in to be entertained by different artistes.

In view of the foregoing, there is no doubt about the enormous gains that lie with investments in the tourism sector. These pockets of wonderful tourism initiatives are, however, not enough. More efforts should be channeled at bringing and developing our beaches, parks, game reserves,forests and other natural spots to international standards. Also, infrastructure and logistics for transportation, accommodation and catering, restaurants, cafes, clubs, bars, hotels and other such facilities, which support a thriving tourism industry, should be a top priority for the state government and for individual investors. If properly managed, it will help increase our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).