The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, on Wednesday said that no less than 2, 000 tourists visit his palace and other tourist sites around Ile-Ife on daily basis.
Ogunwusi said this during a press tour of the ancient city, ahead of the Tourism Innovation and Development Innovation Conference (TIDA) slated for April 24.
The theme of the conference is: Impact of Sustainable Tourism Development and Marketing of Tourism Destinations on Host Communities.
The tour was organised to ascertain how far tourism had impacted on Ife community and its environs.
The monarch said Ife had become a good reference point in domestic tourism.
He said that tourists from all over the world had been visiting the ancient town on regular basis to know more about its culture.
Ogunwusi said that the tourist attractions in Ile- Ife and its environs were no less than 401 and each has its history and significance.
He said that each of these sites used to attract tourists from across the world to the ancient city and accounted for the huge number of tourists recorded daily.
The monarch said that to keep the good record and history, there had been orientation programmes for the residents.
He added that this was on how best they could be hospitable and familiarise themselves with the history of the town.
” Ife remains a tourist hub, the huge number of visitors I receive on a daily basis can attest to this.
” We want to ensure we do better in terms of hospitality, that is why we have continued to re-orientate our people on the essence of being hospitable,” he said.
Ogunwusi also said that the town’s domestic tourism had greatly impacted on the youth positively.
He said most of them had been trained as tour guides and curators; having shown interest in tourism over the years.
He said that many youths had also travelled to Brazil and other foreign countries due to their remarkable exposure to the growth of tourism in Ife.
” The positive effect of tourism is evident in Ife.
“A lot of our youths have benefited greatly; most of them have relocated abroad having groomed our tourism potential well enough.
” Some of our youths are now professional tour guides and curators, which remain their major source of income.
” Many of them have also embraced other businesses within the tourism value chain, ” he said.
Earlier, Mr Femi Lawson, Founder of TIDA, said that the 2019 edition promises to rub off positively on individuals.
He said that as the theme of the conference suggests, Ife was picked to promote and give more awareness to its tourist sites as it is known to have rich cultures and tourism potential.
” TIDA is set for the development of ideas that will add value to the promotion of tourism through tourism insurance, infrastructural tourism and the virtual tourism device.
” This will help market the nation’s tourism potential domestically and help increase traffic of international tourists into the country,” he said.