Many developing countries including Nigeria are concerned with many economic and social development issues. Some see tourism as a major force for economic improvement and look to themed attractions as part of the tourism product.
One of the states in Nigeria that has been able to create jobs through tourism is Cross Rivers state which invested in the development of Obudu Cattle Ranch, Calabar festival and investment in other infrastructure that impacted on tourism.
Delta state government is following in this direction as it has embarked on provision of basic infrastructure that will impact on tourism development like the newly built airport in Asaba and the provision of enabling environment for private investment in the state.
Other Deltans are lining up behind the government of the state to see that the economy of the state is diversified, one of such Deltans is Chief Abel Ubeku, Chairman Sarner PFM, Nigeria, who accepted to chair the company in Nigeria because he was promised that major projects of the company will be sited in Delta state.
Today, that promise is coming to fruition with the birth of Delta Leisure Resorts, a tourism and leisure facility which is being built in the Oleri, Udu Local Government and Ogwashi Uku, Aniocha South Local Government areas of Delta State, the park will be the first of its kind in West Africa.
The project is being undertaken by SarnerPFM (Sarner African working with its International Arm (Sarner UK) to design and create the leisure resorts which will cover over 150 hectares in each city and is estimated to cost 49 billion Naira.
So, it was a happy Governor of delta State and other stakeholders like traditional rulers, artisans and youths who gathered for the presentation of the Master Plan of the proposed Delta Leisure Resorts weekend in Asaba.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan accompanied by the Governor of Cross Rivers state, Liyel Imoke, was a delighted man on the podium when he said the issue of youth unemployment has been a major problem and that all strategies of the state are geared towards youth employment.
One of such is the development of airport in Asaba that is meant to create jobs for the teeming youths in the state and that the Delta Leisure resorts on completion will create over 6000 jobs and that most of the employment will be from the host communities.
Uduaghan promised that the project will be completed on time as it has been planned to take three years for completion.
Presenting the Master Plan to the audience, the Managing Director, Sarner PFM, Princess Abiodun Oyefusi disclosed that the main park to be located in Oleri village will reflect the culture of the area, while providing a place for escapism, enjoyment and fun.
She said the Oleri park will include a water park, five and three star hotels, luxurious chalets, casino, golf course, historical attractions, family entertainment centre and children’s area as well as sport facilities.
Princess Oyefusi added that the Ogwashi Uku park will be for wildlife that will offer the chance to learn about the native species first hand and other animals that will be brought in from Namibia where they are having an animal exchange program.
” The overall theme for the resort is landscapes and one of the main features will be a dramatic waterfall, offering spectacular views across the leisure park from highest point.”
She explained that the park will be split into a number of sectors, offering something for everyone, whether it is a leisurely day on the golf course or a cultural experience.
“The Delta Leisure resort will be a unique attraction for Nigeria, helping to draw visitors to the area from across Nigeria, the surrounding countries and beyond.”
She added ” the increase in tourism will create new job opportunities and help with the development of the country’s infrastructure.
Speaking on the main attractions of the parks, Princess Oyefusi said there will be cultural zones that will offer visitors chances to find out about the local history, traditions and skills of the people.
“When evening falls, there will be a light and sound shows to continue the resorts entertainment. There will be fantasy themed zones designed purely for fun and entertainment as there will be rides catering for all tastes and ages, from serene to high thrill rides.”
Princess Oyefusi re*echoed Governor Uduaghan’s promise that the resort be completed in three years time, disclosing that they have handled similar projects in other parts of the world.
” Sarner is a leading company with over three decades of experience in the design and delivery of visitor attractions and leisure entertainment centres. We have gained an international reputation in the heritage, leisure, entertainment and corporate markets with clients in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“We employ some of the very best designers and engineers in the industry to ensure we provide the level of service that is expected from us. Our ability to create unique concepts that stand out from the competition has earned us an international reputation.”
She said by combining their creative flair and engineering abilities that they were able to create one of the first fully automated immersive heritage attractions in Europe some 20 years ago. “The Last Labyrinth at Land’s End is testament to our ability to successfully integrate our creative and technical skills to create an attraction that has run continuously for over two decades.”
The unique thing about the presentation of the master plan was the special dedication of the project to the Lord by pastors and those present for the project to be completed on time without facing any hitch.