Akwa Ibom has always provided a veritable destination for both local and external tourism. With its lush vegetation, rich culture, cuisine, welcoming people, and exotic destinations spread across the state.
The tourist ecosystem in Akwa Ibom is derived, naturally imbued with divinely positioned sites that provide world-class solutions to the very sophisticated visitor. Its soothing calmness and excitement are what are needed to ensure satiated engagement.
As you descend into the beautiful space that is Akwa Ibom from the sky, you begin to witness some of the most beautiful vegetation that you will see in this part of the world. The beautiful fingers of the Niger Delta meander their way towards the regal Atlantic Ocean. As the powerful Ibom Air flight that you are nestled in goes lower, you see canoes regally cruise the fingers of the creeks as the indigenes go about their daily chores. It is such a beautiful sight.
Uyo, the main artery of the tourist ecosystem presents you with a calm disposition. The peace that envelopes the town is what is packaged and pushed to the visitor as s/he moves from the Victor Attah International Airport towards the city center. The sweet infrastructural layout and the welcoming smiles of the people make you feel truly welcomed.
I decided to bring the Play -Ibiom: When the Doves Fly to Uyo to take advantage of this ready-made structure for tourism. The play highlights the very rich culture of the ethnic group that makes up this heaven nestled within the rain forest of Southern Nigeria.
The play, which was showcased at the prestigious Ibom Hall right on the expansive IBB way in Uyo took the audience that had the deputy governor of the state, Mr. Moses Ekpo and the first lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, and thousands of Indigenes into a rapturous performance, which showed the very best in Akwa Ibom.
The vision is to stage much more frequently these kinds of huge theatrical productions to tap into the tripartite ecosystem anchored by Ibom Air to drive tourism traffic to the state. Visitors would fly in for a weekend of fun, taking in the beautiful sights all over the state from the museums, nature treks, the wonderful golf course, the beaches at Ibeno, and other such historical sights to take in the many theatre productions while staying in some of the most beautiful hotels in the nation.
The Ibom Icon Hotel and the Monty Suites are two in point that satisfies the requirement of a discerning visitor.
The government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel perfectly understands the importance of tourism to the socio-economic development of the state especially in the area of employment, youth engagement, and empowerment, infrastructural development to mention a few. This is why it continues to support huge productions like Ibiom -When the Doves Fly.
The commissioner for tourism and culture, Rt. Hon Orman Esin had said to me in one of our meetings, that Akwa Ibom is the nation’s best-kept secret when it comes to tourism. This cannot be further from the truth.
Akwa Ibom and its tourist ecosystem will continue to inspire me as a theatre producer to execute some of the most mind-blowing productions that would pull both local and external visitors to Akwa Ibom.
Joseph Edgar, The Duke of Shomolu is the Executive Producer of Ibiom- When Doves Fly which was staged at the Ibiom Hall, April 30 and 1st May 2021.