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