Echoes of this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) have continued to reverberate across the world. Celebrated on September 27 yearly by all nations of the world, particularly by countries and communities where tourism is a serious business, the celebration under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), is dedicated to drawing global attention to the economic and socio-cultural, as well as community development importance of tourism, which has remained the largest employer of labour.
The theme for the celebration, which is all – year event, is ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth.’ Nowhere else was this more glaring and uniquely observed than in Ondo State. It turned out to be an epoch-making event spare headed by the President and Founder of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Otunba WanleAkinboboye, who is the strategic partner and consultant to the Ondo State government on tourism development and also the promoter of Destination Ondo among others.
Series of activities were staged across the state in commemoration of the day, with Ondo town playing host to a workshop on carnival and festival costume making, which was in furtherance of the recently launched carnival and festival costumes making factory in Ondo. The initiative is geared towards making Ondo the hub and capital of carnival and festival costume making in Africa.
Over 600 youths from across the state participated in the training workshop, which was organised freely for them by Destination Ondo. The training was conducted by Nigerian renowned model and fashion designer, Bayo Adegbe fondly known as Modela of Modela Couture. Three of the top designers at the training session won for themselves a cash prize of N1 million each for their unique designs. It was part of the youth empowerment and investment in youth entrepreneurs by the state government.
The celebration train later moved on to Idanre Hills in Idanre Town, one of the suffusing natural attractions of the state, which has been made into a thriving destination by the state government to continue with the celebration.
A groundbreaking ceremony of La Campagne Tropicana Hills Resort was also performed. This was heralded by sultry cultural and musical performances, as well as a fashion parade with Atunda Band and Atunda models headlining the fun-filled night.
One of the speakers during the night was the leader of the youths, who expressed appreciation to Akinboboye and the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, for the opportunity offered them to be engaged in constructive and economically benefiting ventures even as he made a commitment of devotion to the craft by the youths.
The celebrations climaxed at the governor’s office in Akure where the governor and other dignitaries were entertained with a rich display of cultural and musical performances. The night’s offerings were signpost with the showcasing of the array of colorful and creative costumes made by the youths who had earlier been trained and equipped.
Impressed by the rich and enchanting costumes on display, Governor Akeredolu then formally declared the state as the “Hub of Carnival Costumes,” tasking the team led by Akinboboye, to continue in the path already established, promising them of the state government support in entrenching the project, which has already taken root.