There is no doubt, Plateau state has excelled as the best tourism destination in the past. It’s not just mere saying but a state created with territorial and scenic beauty which ranges from the topography to its beautiful nature, the gentle weather in ambiance and the hospitable collection of a people in their diversity in culture as the greatest asset to which every tourist looks out for. Apart from these unique territorial and climatic attributes are a variety of legumes, vegetables, fruits and the classes of crops and cereals available in all seasons thereby enhancing the state’s appeal globally.
Tourism is an act of travelling to a place which is different from your home city or country for leisure, sight seeing and business purposes. The economic value involve in tourism has numerous benefits that are immeasurable. It creates jobs, serves as a clear source of internal revenue generation, it connects people and transfers the technology of a people out of it’s clime.
Tourism expands business activities and extends trade, investment, transportation, sports, entertainment, appreciation of cuisines and beverages. It also has impact on the hospitality industry, travel agencies, recreations and cultural activities.
It’s regrettable however that Plateau the home of Peace and Tourism has lost this in recent times as a result of a series of incessant crises in the past that affected tourism activities in the state. The expectation of tourists into the country and specifically to the state at times of insecurity was a wishful thinking no matter how resounding the campaign would be by the government. It’s also obvious the green grasses have dried up, the cottages have fallen and the recreation centres were desolated because of the unabated crisis. What a great loss?
Solomon Lar amusement park which used to be one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the state with tall trees, a landmark of man – made recreations, blossoms and embellishments is now a shadow of itself and presently in a sorry state.
Helena Farm a private ornamental initiative in Rose flower, herbal plants growing and marketing which provided a heavy smell of roses in the environment with its specialised varieties of rosemary, asparagus and basil attracting tourists in the past. This centre as at today is in a shadow of it’s old self.
The Pandam game reserve has been a beautiful tourist location with exotic – birds and rare animals covered by the trees and water bays. With its travelling distance of about 172 kilometers away from the city centre-Jos.The journey alone exposes the tourist to the scenic beauty of the terrain but now the road leading to Pandam reserve is in a sorry State while the game reserve with the exotic rare trees have been sold and cut down by locals for fuel needs and by the Chinese for export.
Jos Wild life park used to be another destination for tourist delight, picnics, holiday and a relaxation destination.
The modern zoological garden was inhabited by different animals both domestic and wild that attracted people from different locations around the world. But now in very deplorable bad shape, scanty and unstocked with the clear absence of animals while the remaining are looking weak and sickly.
Wase rock also was an attraction to tourists. A inselberg rock standing at about 850 feet height with an excellent view, was of serious use by mountain climbers as s sport and for attraction to tourists. These no longer take place.
Kurra falls is a beautiful man – made water falls amidst the beautiful rock formation on the Plateau that attracted tourists in the past and also students on excursions. So also was the Assop natural water fall from River Assop. Both falls gave a paradise look and illusion to the admirers. Their story today is history.
Riyom rock stands unnoticed as much as it predominates the walls on calendars. The location despite being accessible is not attracting people to its view because of its neglect by governments.
Jos museum – the first museum in Nigeria, the Museum for Traditional Nigerian Architecture (MOTNA), coronation Hill, terracotta items in the pottery room and the pre – history Nigeria, was established in 1952 by Bernard Fagg. These once cherished attractions have been reduced and abused by our sentiments which have now allowed for its deplorability and non functionality by the Museum commission.
The story of tourism in Plateau is quite pathetic as it is clear the state government is not ready to invest in same neither do they want to outsource to interested partners but to always use same as a vent for budgetary allocations and a vent for rents. Now that the atmosphere is calm and normalcy relatively restored in peace terms, the expectation on Governor Lalong to revitalised and energize the drive that will fall in line with the State’s toga of “Home of Peace and Tourism” but a look at the 2019 Budget was clearly a far cry as only #337,900,000 was appropriated for Tourism and this represented only 0.52% of #153,537,190,069 of the total budget. Also in 2020, the state appropriation bill shows only #499,049,010 allocated to tourism out of #177,340,521,774,000. This is insignificant and less than 0.50% of total budgets. This really shows lack of commitment and will power on the part of the government to revive the tourism industry – the industry that has a huge capacity to diversify the economy and lift the people of the state above the current poverty level of two dollars. I hope and pray that the governor will have the inner light and the veil lifted off his eyes for him to see the untapped benefits lying untapped in the Plateau God given tourism potentials to the liberation of the people.
Written by Abu Maigoro
Behind Dilimi Street Jos
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