Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Music star and Senior Special Assistant to the Abia State Governor on Tourism and Entertainment, Dr Justice Martins popularly known as J. Martins, has hinted of plans by the State Government to fully develop the famous Azumini Blue River in Ukwa East Local Government Area into a renowned tourism site in Nigeria.
The SSA who disclosed this Tuesday during a press conference to mark the World Tourism Day in Umuahia, said that the Alex Otti-led administration, was fully prepared to make the tourism industry one of the major revenue base of the state.
He also said the State Government had initiated moves to recover some important tourism sites in the state from the Federal Government with a view to renovating and preserving them.
J. Martins who expressed concern over the condition of such sites, said the intention of Government was to ensure that such historic sites are well preserved for posterity.
He noted that Abia has over 17 tourism sites, adding that efforts are on to identify and harness other tourism potentials in the state.
He said Government would give the needed attention to tourism as a way of creating new job opportunities.
The SSA further said that Government would build leisure parks in Aba, Umuahia and Ohafia to promote tourism in the various senatorial districts.
He also hinted that very soon the State Government would begin the classification of hotels in the state according to their classes, to improve standards and efficiency.
On whether his political assignment was not a distraction to his calling in the entertainment industry, the music star said he was only on a rescue mission.
“I’m music and music is me. But for the moment, there are critical issues in the tourism sector in Abia which we have come to salvage. The music talent in me will not die.”
He further said that “tourism is not just about visiting new places; it’s about forging connections, understanding different cultures, and appreciating the incredible diversity of our world.
“It transcends borders and fosters a sense of unity among people. It has the power to break down stereotypes, promote tolerance, and build bridges of understanding. In a world where conflicts and divisions often dominate headlines, tourism becomes a force for peace and harmony.
“Yet, the impact of tourism extends far beyond cultural exchanges. It is a formidable driver of economic growth, providing livelihoods to millions of people around the globe.
“I want to emphasise the importance of tourism and the critical role it plays in shaping our future, as well as the imperative for local actions in paving the way towards a diversified and green economy as the 2023 theme focuses on green investments and tourism.”