As Cross River State consolidates on building a full-fledged and all-year-round tourist destination, the state has turned its attention to the proper preservation and promotion of all its heritage sites through legislation, which is expected to bring heritage tourism within the existing framework and structure of the state tourism market.
Already, the state executive council has approved a bill to provide for the preservation of the state heritage for the consideration of the State House of Assembly through the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice.
Some of the provisions of the 2013 Heritage bill include the preservation of buildings, objects, cultural materials (tangible and intangible) and structures considered to be of historical, and cultural as well as economic significance to the people of the state and utilize their potential for tourism development.
To ensure proper preservation, management and promotion of these heritage sites and cultural icons, the bill will also provide for the establishment of a body of trustees made up of people with the requisite professional skill and experience who will take custody of these properties to restore and preserve them and manage their utilization and maintenance. The trustees will be expected to bring to bear their vast wealth of experience and skill on the proper identification, demarcation, profiling and preservation of these sites and items.
When the bill is passed into law, it would open a new vista for tourists to the state to experience a most cherished aspect of tourism assets, which over the years, have suffered neglect.
The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Tourism Development, Mr. Wilfred Usani sees this new move as a welcome development and a step in the right direction, as it is aimed at not only properly documenting and giving legal status to the various historical, heritage and cultural assets scattered across the state but also boosting and enriching its tourism offerings.
It will be recalled that since turning its attention to tourism as a vehicle for economic development, the state has not relented in the development and building of its tourism products and facilities as well as creating the enabling environment through legislations and policy direction for the thriving of tourism through the active Private and Public Partnership model.
One of the prime products of the state is the Calabar Festival, a month long yearly festival that is a blend of cultural and modern entertainment climaxing in the Carnival Calabar. It has, since its first edition, opened the state to the tourism world and continued to attract the attention of people from across the world.
Among its developed and cherished tourism infrastructure is the Tinapa Business Resort, which is an emporium of some sort with various facilities that cater for prime time leisure and business tourists.
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