The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Florence Obi, believes that the Department of Tourism at UNICAL is well-positioned to lead the tourism sector in Nigeria. Prof. Obi made this declaration during the inaugural celebration of ‘World Tourism Day’ and the conference organized by the Department of Tourism Studies, themed “Rethinking Tourism,” which took place at the Cross River Community Town Hall on the UNICAL campus.
In her absence, Prof. Angela Oyo-ita, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, represented the Vice-Chancellor and expressed her confidence in the Department’s ability to tap into the abundant potential within the tourism sector. She emphasized the value that the Department brings not only to the institution but also to the state and the nation. Prof. Obi encouraged the Department to focus on showcasing its talents and attracting learners who seek to benefit from their expertise. She stated, “It has become expedient to ‘rethink tourism because a lot is expected from you. It is time to think of how best you can attract resources and showcase it to the world to see.”
Furthermore, Prof. Obi urged the Department to generate research findings that can contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s tourism sector. She praised the Department for organizing the conference and recommended that students be encouraged to present papers at such events, which would enhance the department’s reputation.
Dr. Linus Akeh, the Head of the Department of Tourism at UNICAL, highlighted the importance of tourism to the country’s socio-economic development. He affirmed the Department’s commitment to actively participate in marking World Tourism Day and ensuring that academics play a significant role in advancing the field.
The keynote speaker, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Rt Hon. Saviour Enyiekere, delivered a presentation titled “The Concept of Tourism: A Critical Rethink.” He called for an enhancement of the quality of tourism experiences, support for local businesses, and diversification of tourism products. Dr. Prince Charles Omin, who represented him, emphasized the need to reimagine tourism as a means to enrich lives while preserving cultural and community values.
Dr. (Mrs) Violet Eneyo, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the event, lauded the Vice-Chancellor for facilitating the celebration of the global event on campus and expressed the Department’s commitment to promoting the study and practice of tourism within the institution. She encouraged UNICAL students to become outstanding ambassadors who would bring honor to the university on the global stage.
The event also featured a presentation by Pst. Henry Ojone on the topic of ‘Tourism and Community Service,’ as well as carnival displays and dance performances by students from the Department of Tourism.
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