C/River State Partners with Sterling Consortium to Digitalize Tourism Sector

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In a move to boost tourism, the Cross River State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sterling Consortium. The partnership aims to digitalize the state’s tourism sector, enhancing site development, revenue generation, and tour package arrangements NEGROIDHAVEN can report.

Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Abubakar Ewa, outlined the goals of the collaboration during the official signing on Thursday. “The MoU this morning is with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and our partners, Sterling – an implementing consortium. This agreement is the process of digitalizing the Cross River tourism sector in terms of site development, revenue generation, and we will be able to arrange tour packages,” Ewa stated.

Emphasizing the focus on community tourism, Ewa noted, “In this partnership, as a ministry, what we are into is community tourism. And in community tourism, we need partnership because these sites belong to communities. They are not government sites. So this partnership is to bring Sterling consortium which has the capital to develop the tour sites, generate revenue that will also accrue to the communities.”

He added that the project would create a value chain benefiting local guides and transportation providers, such as okada riders. “If the sites are not developed, visitors would not come. So the consortium is to ensure that they make our tour sites visitor ready,” he said.

Ewa highlighted several new and existing tourism sites set for development under the partnership, including the Bamba Cave, Kendeshua Lake, and the natural swimming pool in Nde Mountain. “We’ve seen a lot of new tour sites that are ready to be developed to add to the ones that are partially developed,” he said. Existing sites like Agbokim Waterfall and Qua Falls are also slated for enhancements, such as the addition of a zipline to attract more tourists.

The commissioner also mentioned the inclusion of new cultural festivals, such as the Mbube New Yam Festival and Bekwara, into the state’s tourism calendar, aimed at driving more traffic to the sector. “We have been able to capture more cultural festivals that will help to drive more traffic to our tourism sector,” he added.

Dr. Henry Onyemachi, CEO of ICT Health and a member of the Sterling Consortium, detailed the digitalization efforts. “For tourism, we have come to digitalize it, and one of the ways is to help the tourism ministry do what they do best. We are developing a platform that will enable people to access different tourist sites in Cross River, which is called Visit Cross River,” Onyemachi explained.

He revealed that the platform would be unveiled in the next two to three weeks in a major event. “The aim of the governor is to make government closer to the people. That the people, wherever they are, can touch government. They don’t need to go to an office. We should be able to do what they need to do wherever they are,” he added.

NEGROIDHAVEN further garnered that the Cross River State government is also committed to upgrading infrastructure to support these developments, ensuring easier access to tourism sites through the construction of earth roads.

Feelers have suggested that this partnership represents a major step forward for Cross River State’s tourism sector, promising enhanced visitor experiences and increased economic benefits for local communities.