The Oyo State government yesterday said it approved 13.579 hectares for the establishment of Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market at Iseyin.
The government said the foundation of the global market will be laid during this year’s Aso-Ofi Festival, on September 16.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, announced this at a ministerial briefing on the second edition of the festival and Pace Setter Entertainment and Recognition Award (PERA) of the ministry in Ibadan, the state capital.
Arulogun said the Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market would contain 500 weaving sheds/workshops, 500 exhibition shops, a warehouse, first indigenous textile museum in Nigeria, a fire station, a clinic and a police station.
The commissioner said the state was determined to reap maximally from the economic potential of Aso-Ofi.
He said Aso-Ofi Festival was conceptualised to showcase and celebrate the state’s locally-made fabric, which has become an international brand.
Arulogun said: “The celebration opened our eyes wider to the potentials that abound, which include trade and commercial activities, employment and job creation. Financial institutions have also been having serious and genuine engagements with the weavers and marketers while export opportunities are also being exploited.”
The commissioner said this year’s Aso-Ofi Festival would attract Iseyin sons and daughters at home and in the diaspora, as well as national and international tourists and traders.
According to him, the event will start on September 15. Governor Abiola Ajimobi will perform the foundation-laying on September 16 at the proposed site of Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market at Iseyin.
Arulogun said there would be a rally/carnival round Iseyin, Aso-Ofi Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Aso-Ofi weaving competition, a colloquium, musical concerts, parade by the four zones of Iseyin Weavers and Marketers Association and other stakeholders.
Others, the commissioner said, are: cultural performances, awards presentation, Aso-Ofi fashion show and foundation-laying of Aso-Ofi international tourism market.
He added that the programme will be held at the proposed site of Aso-Ofi international tourism market at Iseyin.
Arulogun said: “The Oyo State government, through this ministry, currently operates an IPPP policy. This is Identify, Package, Promote and Partner. We created a data base of all the cultural tourism potential in the state and package them by making them more attractive.
“The next step is to promote them by creating awareness about their existence and because of the paucity of funds and the new direction in international tourism. The state must partner the private sector and individuals to sustain our cultural tourism. We are now in the process of shortlisting companies for the public private partnership engagement of our major cultural tourism sites.”