Ado Ekiti — An Ekiti-based tourism destination marketing organisation under the aegis 'Discover Ekiti' has said Ekiti State could be turned to be tourism hub of the country, if efforts could be made to develop abandoned potentials in the sector.
The organisation disclosed that Ekiti has over 300 tourist centres that have the capacities of fortifying the economy, had successive governments invested hugely the way Governor Kayode Fayemi did at Ikogosi Resort which has now become a veritable source of revenue to the state.
Discover Ekiti said it was ready to partner the state government and other private individuals to develop and market the 3,000 capacity Esa Cave in Iyin-Ekiti, saying the tourist centre would boost the economy and create employment if developed.
He said the cave could comfortably accommodate tourism investment opportunities like: five-star hotel with helipad facilities, resort and gardens, outdoor camping facilities, arts and museum arcade, art gallery, ecological garden and cultural village.
Addressing a press conference in Iyin-Ekiti yesterday, Discover Ekiti Team Leader, Mr. Michael Ekiran, said: "We have discovered 70 sites that are abandoned out of over 300 untapped sites that can turn around the fortunes of this state during our adventures and research across the state.
"Esa Cave in Iyin-Ekiti is one of those viable sites. It can accommodate 3,000 people apart from other sites within its vicinity that can be a good resort. Esa Cave is the third most viable resort after Ikogosi and Arinta Waterfall in Ekiti. It has the strength to boost local economy through revenue generation and job creation.
"Tourists and adventurers are expected to have exciting and thrilling experience anytime this seventh wonder of the world Esa Cave is developed. We will not stop at opening up the place. We will strategically promote and market the resort to the entire world."
He added: "We advocate that government must have the political will towards facilitating infrastructure needed to uplift Esa Cave to a global attraction and the need to explore alternative funding to develop our heritage sites through corporate organisations and individuals.
"In the development of tourism sector, government at all levels, private investors, host communities and destination marketing organisations must collaborate towards developing and marketing the potentials before it can be relied upon as revenue spinning project and that is what we expect in Esa Cave issue," he said.
The Regent of Iyin-Ekiti, Princess Adeola Ajakaye, said Esa Cave if developed would boost the economy and that the town was ready to partner other interested investors to make it a viable tourism in the state.
"That mountain that was being treated as sacred was discovered over 800 years ago. History will be kind to us if we can partner the state government and private investors to develop it. My people are ready to collaborate with investors," she said.
Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, has, however, said the governor as a visionary leader perceived tourism, culture and agriculture as areas to diversify the economy, so that the state could stop relying on federal allocation to survive.
Olumilua assured the group and the host community that the government would partner them to make the dream of making Esa Cave a viable resort comes to fruition