ATCAF 2023: Experts Advocate Creation of National Park in Ekiti State …As Ekiti hosts first tourism forum

  • By Emmanuel Onwusoro

Ekiti State, undoubtedly, can boast of tourism potentialities, especially in terms of its natural and human resources/endowments which one can say have placed it in an inimitable pedestal among the comity of states in Nigeria.

Ekiti is blessed with many awesome natural landscapes and landmarks, architectural showpieces, charming fauna and flora, ancient and modern towns and settlements.

Considering that the economy of many countries these days depend on tourism because of the positive spin-offs from the industry, the man that calls the shots at the Bureau of Tourism Development in the state Amb. Wale Ojo-Lanre has begun to ensure that tourism can thrive if the state showcases a positive image in tune with culture of stability, security and hospitality


It is therefore not surprising that through the instrumentality of the Director-General of the State Bureau of Tourism Development, Ekiti hosted the First Africa Tourism Climate Action Forum, ATCAF, on Friday, November 24,2023. A forum that brought experts from far and wide to add their wealth of experience to the quest of charting a prosperous future for tourism in the State.

The venue was the Bishop Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado-Ekiti, where the environmental and tourism experts consensually urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to create a National Park in Ekiti State to promote its ecotourism and ensure sustainable development.

The event was put together by Sayari Dunia Sustainable Tourism Foundation and powered by an expert in tourism, Mrs. Abigael Olagbaye, with the theme: “Decarbonisation and Green Industrialisation of Tourism and Trade”.

In his address, the Conservator-General of Nigeria, Dr Ibrahim Goni, who was represented commended the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Biodun Oyebanji for his developmental strides and his earnest concern for the protection of the environment. He said governor Oyebanji has placed Ekiti State in the foremost position of the few States in Nigeria that are conscious about adding value to the Planet Earth.

The Conservator-General assured the governor of his assistance to Ekiti State in the protection and conservation of its forests.

Other speakers were unanimous that the initiative will not only add value to the various efforts at protecting Ekiti’s environment, but also strengthen measures toward protecting and preserving its rich biodiversity and natural endowments.

They believe a National Park will be helpful to Ekiti because of its possession of remarkable diversity of ecosystems, including lush forests, wetlands, unique rock formations, and a variety of flora and fauna which are however being increasingly threatened by human encroachment, deforestation, and habitat destruction.

The proposed National Park the experts pointed out would serve as a sanctuary for the numerous endangered and endemic species in the area, providing them with a safe habitat to thrive and ensuring their long-term survival. It would also generate economic opportunities for the community, attracting nature lovers, researchers, and tourists from around the world.

According to them, it has the potential to create jobs, boost local businesses, and contribute to the overall economic growth of Ekiti State as well as
enhance Nigeria’s commitment to environmental conservation, aligning with international efforts to protect biodiversity and fight against climate change. It would be a profound step towards achieving sustainable development goals and preserving natural heritage for future generations.

The experts strongly urged the government of Ekiti State, as well as relevant federal authorities, to consider and support the creation of a National Park in Ekiti, arguing that by working together, they can ensure the protection and sustainable management of the state’s natural resources while fostering economic growth and promoting environmental stewardship.

The convener of ATCAF, Mrs Abigael Olagbaye, said her foundation decided to host ATCAF in Ekiti to draw global attention of environmentalists and conservationists to the urgent need to protect Ekiti’s natural heritage, flora and fauna before any irredeemable damage.

“For the past three days, we have successfully held a Tree- Planting ceremony, and a cycling competition to emphasize the adoption of fuelless objects for promoting tourism, we have engaged the youths and we will interact with our women tomorrow all in alignment with the theme of this year’s forum”.

She expressed gratitude to the Governor of Ekiti State, the conservator-general of the Federation, the Ekiti Commissioner for Environment, the DG Bureau of Tourism Development, Ekiti State, DG, Ekiti State Community Relations, sponsors of the program, and others for their immeasurable contributions to the success of the ATCAF 2023 events in Ekiti State.

Other experts that presented papers include representative of the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, FTAN, Dr Abioye Adedipe, Ekiti State Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Tosin Aluko-Ajisafe, who was represented, a Green and Travelism expert and DG, Bureau Of Tourism Development, Ekiti State, Amb. Wale Ojo-Lanre, Esq., Executive Secretary, Ekiti State Forestry Commission, Mr Mathew Famuagun, SSA to Ekiti State governor on Green Economy and Climate Change, Dr Akinyemi Akinyugha and an Ekiti-born US-based environmental evangelist, Mr Tosin Owolabi

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