France and Oyo government to develop tourist sites
A French delegation said over the weekend that the French embassy was working on a new way to develop tourism in Oyo state, especially as it seeks to expand its bilateral relations with the state.
Speaking during their visit to the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and to a tourist site, Ado-Awaye Hill, the head of the French delegation, Dr Vincent Hiribarren said that the country was determined to remain engaged with Oyo State and to seek ways to explore its tourism potentials in different archaeological and historical sites.
“Currently, France is seeking to help the government of Oyo State to document its tourism potential. This is the first working visit to tourist sites in the state, ”said Hiribarren.
“The field visit to potential archaeological sites in Oyo State would give us the opportunity to assess them, with the aim of developing an archaeological project,” he added.
The team also visited the studios and archives of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism with the aim of developing a project on the digitization of archival documents and staff training.
Hiribarren also pledged the support of the French government to Oyo State, ensuring the full digitization of its archaeological documents, archives and cultural heritage.
The team then met with the management of the ministry to deliberate on possible projects to be developed on the basis of the evaluations made.
The French delegation added that the relics proposed for examination include the relics of Idere, the relics of Kunrunmi, the hanging lake Iyake Ado Awaye and the Aso Ofi center, Iseyin (house of the weavers).
“This official visit to the state is marked by a trip to the famous Ado-Awaye hill where we discovered great tourist potentials such as the hanging lake Iya’ke, lake Iya’laro and an ancient cave.”
Hiribarren, who heads the French Institute for Research in Africa, pledged support from the French government to ensure Ado-Awaye, among other tourist sites in the state, is listed on UNESCO’s recommendation. for tourism, which, he noted, will consume the upgrading of the state’s economic diplomacy.
“We will ensure that this is established within the framework of UNESCO tourist sites, so as to influence tourists and improve the rating and cultural heritage of the community,” he said.
He added that the visit was an attempt to build on the priorities set by the French government, saying it was also a sign of “Paris’ willingness to change the narrative of relations between the state and France”.
“We are working for a new, more sustainable and fairer way of supporting the tourism potential of Oyo State. We want to find ways to partner with Oyo State on tourism to create more jobs and generate more economic growth, ”he added.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr ‘Bunmi Babalola appreciated the visit of the French government, which he noted will increase the volume of the economic impact on the population of Ado-Awaye.
He also pledged the full support of the state government to prioritize the tourism sector, which in turn will develop the state’s economy.
Alado d’Ado-awaye, HRM, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran said the community has long awaited the realization of this age-old dream.
Noting that the community is home to the only suspended natural lake on the African continent, the monarch added that the development will not only improve the state’s tourism potential, but reduce crime and other vices.
The French Embassy Mission included Professor Gérard Chouin (Williams & Mary USA), Dr Vincent Hiribarren (Director IFRA Nigeria), Ms Lea ROTH (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Prof. RA Alabi (Head of the Department of Archeology UI), Joseph Ayodokun (Department of Archeology UI and Field Officer of IFRA Nigeria’s Archaeological Projects) and Patrick Babalola (Archivist, IFRA Nigeria).