Plateau Government has set in motion initiatives geared towards reviving the once vibrant tourism sector of the state as it announces the inaugural Jos Christmas Festival billed to hold all through December 2023.
Plateau tourism which was enervated by years of terrorism further worsened by violent communal clashes and religious tension has seen a remarkable easing of the socio-economic climate since the inauguration of the Executive Governor, Mr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang on May 29, this year.
Since his inauguration, Governor Mutfwang has made his intentions clear about the revival and reinvigoration of the tourism industry, a move which has also seen relevant agencies come back to life, in addition to the establishment of new ones in the state for the purpose.
As well as reliving the glorious memories of Plateau tourism, which the industry set the state apart from others, the government is also intent on exploring new opportunities for job and wealth creation for its citizens dislodged by years of civil unrest.
To this end, General Manager of one of the revived and revitalized agencies of government, the Plateau State Tourism Corporation, Mr. Chuwang Pwajok disclosed that his agency is presently putting finishing touches to an event billed for this year, and tagged; the Jos Christmas Festival, which he also disclosed is the first of its kind in the state.
“The festival is expected to take place throughout the month of December to the 1st of January 2024.
“The corporation believes that it is not just enough to have some form of build-up attraction or natural attraction that is there for people to enjoy but to build and develop activities around these attractions that will warrant tourists coming to spend their funds within these locations.
“We are already expanding collaborations and partnerships for those who are organizing different events. We want to bring the city and Plateau to a specific destination location throughout the December period,” Mr. Pwajok disclosed in an interview.
According to the Plateau State Tourism Corporation boss, fun-seekers should watch out for fully decorated trees with Christmas lights and shopping arrangements.
“It’s like a carnival kind of thing; musical concerts, stage drama performances, children fun fair, little Miss Tourism beauty pageant, and all of that.
“We are also planning to announce the re-emergence of Plateau State and Jos in particular as a destination to spend your holiday in. It’s already hitting the right notes on social media, and we believe that we are fully on track towards delivering the first JOS Christmas festival,” said Pwajok.
Speaking on the expected number of visitors coming into Plateau for tourism, Pwajok said the figures ‘are gradually picking up after the state battled serious crisis and security challenges in the past.’
“I think we are already mindful of the fact that we need to buckle up. We are not making the kind of numbers that we hope to make, so we are really putting on a lot to begin to hit the right numbers as far as tourism visitor numbers are concerned.
“Plateau state, like you all know, has been recognized as a major tourist haven as far as Nigeria is concerned. But, at the moment, we would admit that it has not been rosy for quite some time now.”
The General Manager added that the state’s tourism sector is undergoing an overhaul in terms of strategy and policy.
“Plateau tourism sector right now is at a stage where their blueprints are being fine-tuned, processes are being redesigned and then strategically positioning the state to re-emerge, internationally as a destination to reckon with as far as tourism is concerned.
“Plateau state once known as the home of peace and tourism is blessed with numerous tourism sites such as the eco tourism, wildlife parks, waterfalls, gigantic rocks, amazing weather etc but have over the years faced with security challenges that have affected human and material growth including its tourism industry,” Pwajok enthused.