The Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Media Network in conjunction with other stakeholders in the tourism
sector in Cross River State celebrated 2020 World Tourism Day with a call for everybody to imbibe the culture of washing hands regularly. Cross River Coordinator Ms. Florence Olouhu, made the call in Calabar while speaking at the occasion which held at Hit FM conference hall, Calabar.
“Hand washing”, she said, must continue even after Covid-19 is gone. It is for our own good and safety”.
According to her, “Safety is very important in the transport sector. When you talk about the safety of the tourist or the taxi drivers, there must be somebody to communicate it to every stakeholder in the system and that is when the WASH Media network steps in”. She wondered if the business of hygiene is going extinct, and asked, “Are we failing our generation and our children? Are we letting things go the wrong way? Are we still there for them to learn?” We have forgotten the rules we inherited from our parents and have forgotten to ask them to wash their hands”.
She posited that, moving from one city to another to stay for three years does not make one a tourist except within a space of one year visiting the tourist’s sites or coming to stay not more than one year for the purpose of leisure, or business.
On the area of transportation, Oluohu posited that, it is the movement of people and animals from one location to
another and so, cannot function alone, stating that, tourists move with the aid of the transport sector in tourism.
“Safety”, she reiterated, “Is a personal responsibility and as such, nobody can work any other’s safety, except we agree to collaborate, hence, the collaboration”.
She called for safety measures to be imbibed into our day to day activities, especially in the area of hygiene, emphasizing that, it is a daily affair that is still a challenge that demands every facets of life takes WASH into
consideration. “There is nobody that wakes up every day without using water for one purpose or another and If your environment is not clean you cannot be healthy and as such, we should not rule hygiene out of tourism. “We are open for corrections. Our doors are open for criticisms and we promise we shall not let you down. Very soon we shall get there and get things done the right way. When we begin to count our gains, definitely we will remember each an everyone who has made this day great. In her goodwill message, Chairperson, Tourism Writers Association, Cross River State Chapter, Amb. Florence Kekong, welcomed WASH Media Network to the State while reiterating the relevance of the body as being an indispensable arm as far as tourism is concerned.
She therefore, promised to work with the network on issues that border on tourism.
“Before now, people were reluctant on the issues of hygiene and washing of hands, but the COVID-19 pandemic
has caused people to go back to the old good days when personal hygiene was very important in our society”, she
said. Kekong said “We cannot talk about tourism without the Wash programme, since Cross River is noted to be the cleanest State in the whole country. And this has resulted to a lot of tourists and businessmen and women coming into the State. We need to integrate WASH into tourism because if visitors or tourists come and notice that we are
conscious of our hygiene it will be an added advantage to the State.”
“Actually, today’s theme is, ‘Tourism and Rural Development’ but WASH Network has thought it wise to speak on the sub-theme, “Tourism and Safe Transportation’; Both themes are still in order so long as it is related to tourism”.
Tourism Writers Association and WASH Media Network shall henceforth, complement each other and give our own
support to what the State government is doing in tourism sector.
kekong sued for the need to encourage the rural people to showcase their culture and traditions, pointing out that,
there is need to improve upon the transport system in the rural area, take development to them, create awareness and get government to develop such tourist sites in the rural communities.
Government on its part, she said, should do the needful by fixing the roads, electricity, water, so that those in tourism business will stand strong like the hospitality industries and the transport unions. She commended the organizers for including safe transportation into tourism and promised to partner with the transport sector in the state to bring the needed improvement in this sector.
Also speaking, a driver Mr. Ogar Francis, said you cannot separate tourism from transportation business. We do
not treat the issue of safety with levity in my union. We observe every safety measures and guidelines on daily basis.
“We have religiously being observing all the guidelines given by the Covid-19 team and we make sure our passengers
comply according to the rules,je added”.
Earlier, the state Chairman of Unified Drivers Union. Pastor Thomas Effiom, lauded the leadership of Wash media
network for inviting them to participate in the celebration of the World Tourism Day.
“As a union we are ready to synergize and collaborate with the network to compliment government efforts in the
tourism sector. Transport sector is the nerve of any economy of a nation and therefore, its importance cannot be over
emphasized”. He regretted that the guidelines for the Covid-19 are very expensive for the drivers to meet given the economic realities on ground. “It is not favorable to the transport sector. Government has increased fuel pump more
three times this year, the roads are bad. should we drive our cabs.
It has affected our business very seriously. It might surprise you that we are still carrying passengers at 50 Naira. We are the only patriotic Nigerians still living”. However, “we are ready to partner with Wash media Network whenever you call on us to do so.”
By: Vitalis Ugoh

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National vice-chairman south south Tourism Association of Nigeria, FTAN, Elder Peter Ofuka, has commended Governor Ben Ayade for the proactive efforts and measures he took to ensure that Cross River remained safe and free of COVID-19 during the lockdown that crippled human and business activities around the World.
Elder Ofuka said that as a result of the Governors good wisdom the state has remained, safe for tourists, investors and business people of all kinds willing to visit.
The vice-chairman who also called on the people of the State to complement the Governor’s efforts by ensuring continuous strict adherence to the COVID -19 protocols, noted that it in doing so that the State can.
Ofuka who said this at the inauguration of the Cross River chapter of Restaurants and bars Association of Nigeria (RUBAN), at Calabar, equally charged tourism and hospitality industries practitioners to always ensure strict
observance of specific operational protocols.
”I am glad that the Governors of south-south region are still paying favorable attention to the growth and development of the tourism sector,” he said.
Responding, State Chairman, Mr. Felix Dien, thanked Elder Ofuka for leading the people of the State in the right direction towards tourism and hospitality industry development. He said that, although RUBAN is taking up a zero
equity which is very challenging, the association is determined that the largest sector in tourism and hospitality industry will bounce back to be the most sort-after sector, in the nearest future.



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Participants at the Occassion

Tourism, like football, unites a people. The Tourism sector in Nigeria places the nation on advantage given its rich
resource-base in the natural beaches, tropical rain forests, historical monuments, ancient sites, arts and culture, not leaving out the historical events and festivals of the diverse ethnic groups.
Undoubtedly, the sector remains ever glorying in the joy and dwelling in entertainment, where all classes of people wish to part-take in the ever flowing thrills and frills.
Therefore, looking at tourism today in Nigeria, it is best to reason that if properly developed and with sustainable strategies put in place, it would sustainably boost the country’s national identity, by way of igniting its people to always enjoy having leisure and even do business together, as one entity. Recently, Nigeria joined the world over, to
celebrate this year’s World Tourism day. ”Tourism and
Rural Development”. The theme is very catchy and apt. as the celebration came at a critical moment that all
hopes were dashed, with the whole world in despair. Considering the havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant dividing economies in the world, it is right to look at the rural development as an integral part of tourism

“…tourism sector plays unique role in providing opportunities for both urban and rural populations. It is equally true that rural development is an integral component in Tourism promotion. We cannot therefore, separate the two from each other…”

Realistically, we must face the truth, look at ourselves right into the eyes and ask the question ” The urban and rural life in today’s Nigeria, which is better?” Does migrating from the rural areas to the big cities still hold sway in today’s
Nigeria? When you attempt answers to these questions then you would believe that this year’s theme ”Tourism and Rural Development” is very apt.
It is true that the tourism sector plays unique role in providing opportunities for both urban and rural populations. It is equally true that rural development is an integral component in Tourism promotion. We cannot therefore, separate the two from each other, when we wish to attain sustainable development and growth.
Today, urban and rural poverty persist. The people living in the rural areas have little or no access to raised standards of living like their counterparts living in the metropolis. This disadvantage pushes them, particularly the
youths to migrate to the urban areas, even when a critical look at the standard of living in the big cities, shows that urban poverty also persists.
This year’s celebration of  the Tourism Day comes with glad tidings for the rural populace, particularly, the youths
living in the heart of the communities. They are encouraged to stay as ”happy” as they can be, for ”every cloud has its silver lining”. As countries around the world look to tourism to drive recovery, including rural communities where the sector has its roots at offering employment opportunities that build strong economies, our government has promises coming in the way of the rural people, with enhanced recognition of rural development at the fore-front.
Nigeria has been one of the most visited tourist locations in the world. Cross River State is the choice destination of
Tourists visiting the country. Tourists, business men and women alike who visit Cross River experience fantastic new
feelings that would always make them have a return visit. That is why the Cross River State governments, both past and present give priority attention to tourism in the State. This has been the reason why the State has continually
recorded high in-flow of travelers trooping onto the communities of the State, for both business and leisure.
The clarion call for the Integration of rural development should be taken with all amount of seriousness. We can begin with supporting community-based tourism which enables visitors to our communities to meet local people in their real form and experience authentic cultural exchange. This way, it would facilitate the establishment of locally led projects that have direct impact on both the people, as well as the travelers. One important aspect of community-based Tourism is that, it is an idea that is supported and led by the natives themselves, thus, giving them opportunity to participate actively in the designing of the local projects from the beginning to the end of the project. Good projects breed development and growth.
The many benefits of community-based Tourism abound for both local community visitors and the society at large. When we get into executing environmentally sustainable community own projects, we would invariably, be promoting development and growth in our communities.
Community-based tourism at its best is sustainable, providing environmentally-friendly experiences and attractions. The economic benefits that come with an enabling environment can encourage the establishment of more businesses by the day. Community-based Tourism is simply good for the planet. Local people are provided opportunities to
make more income, introduce their culture, as they begin to attract potential investors to their local markets. The locals have a chance to share their culture with the world, as well as learn more about other people’s culture and
experiences. When the locals are engaged in community formations that give them hope for life, they are bound to glow with great pride and automatically begin to even think about living in the big cities, with nostalgia. The cross cultural understanding that begins to exist between the locals and the outside world allows people from very different backgrounds to come together in a respectful and proactive environment, engaging with one another. It is
incredible and heartwarming to see people who may never normally have met, spend time together and learn with
much fun. This helps to broaden everyone’s horizons and bring greater inter-faith and intercultural understanding.
What would our youths, women and other active community members who ordinarily would be faring better in the country side than the urban, be rushing out of their promising communities, if they had tourism-driven projects
that enable them drive sustainable livelihood.
Community-based tourism can provide income and opportunities for all people including women and other disadvantaged groups, more so, people living with disabilities.
Social problems would reduce if our young people and other highly disadvantage people in the communities’ tourism-induced projects make the bulk of money spent by tourists and investors, stay right in the local communities. Rather than tourist dollars going to other places, these instead, go directly to the local people; children in the local communities too, will begin to attend school comfortably, as community-tourism projects create financial
security for the community members.
Therefore, let us look towards the direction of injecting community tourism into our rural communities’ development system.

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