Thursday, 19 October 2017

Statues Are Mark of Tourism: Rochas May Not Be Wrong. By Ifere Paul.


|By Ifere Paul| 19th October, 2017

In 2009, I volunteered to teach English with "Teachers Without Borders", in Porto Rico, after a ravaging storm tore apart the Island, destroying social amenities and wounding a lot of people. The hurricane was named either Ana or Erika. And it destroyed the destroyed major parts of the Caribbean too.

During the visa processing and interview, I was given a catalog of Puerto Rico to read about the Island. All volunteers after arriving Puerto Rico were advised to gather at the Avenue of Heroes in front of the Capitol Building in San Juan. According to the catalog, the Avenue of Heroes is a place where statues of presidents of the US who visited the island are erected and kept as a commemoration of their visits and contributions towards relief efforts.
I was informed that the Avenue of Heroes attracts tourists more than any other part of San Juan. Although the Capitol Building is an administrative center, there are lots of centers for relaxations, special San Juan pies and pizzas, spicy tacos, and a lot of other attractions.

The catalog made me to understand that more than 3000 San Juan residents benefits from the booming market of tourists visiting the Avenue of Heroes. The report said that no fewer than 500 factories, employing local labor strives on the manufacturing of tourists souvenirs made from local materials.

Puerto Rico has blue sparkling beaches which are masterpieces for tourists who wants to sunbath after a long winter period. There are high class hotel providing accommodation for all class of tourists.

In 2012 or there about, President Barrack Obama statue was erected and unveiled in Puerto Rico. According to recent surveys, many tourists to the Avenue of Heroes treats the Obama statue with interest. Often hugging the statues for selfies. At the moment, the city is divided whether or not a Donald Trump statue should be erected at the Avenue of Heroes. Majority of the people, according to a CNN report, said that "Donald Trump does not deserve a heroic treatment."

I did not get a visa to join other volunteers to experience the attractions because I had no TESL Certificate at that time, but it was a lesson I still treasure even though I have lost the catalog.
I may be wrong, but in 1887 the people of France donated the statue of Liberty to the people of the United States. It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. At that time, New Yorkers were said to have rejected the statue several times, and it was almost taken to Boston. This statue has long been a tourists attraction for anyone who is visiting New York.

In China, there is a big temple with statues of Confucius in Beijing. It is one of the most visited after "The Summer Palace." There are many other statues scattered all around Chinese cities to tell the uniqueness of such cities and their history. They all are an attraction to tourists.

In Calabar, in 1999, the city was design and different statues were erected to help beautify the city. Hygiene, greenery and parks, coupled with tree planting, and cleanliness helped markets the tourism potentials of Cross River State. Today, Unical Gate, Calabar/Calabar, Destination Calabar, Mary Slessor Statue, the fisherman's roundabout at Atimbo, the Effiette workman roundabout, the bronze finger's garden are all statues that once sold our potential as the first tourist state in Nigeria.

Erecting statues to boost tourism and commerce is not a bad idea. To erect the statue of Jacob Zuma in Oweri, Imo State is not a bad idea. It mustn't be a Mandela statue.

In all, I heard that the Imo State Governor, will soon unveil many other statues. I don't care which persons or animal statue is erected, one thing I know is that Rochas Okorocha may not be wrong. He may be laying the foundation of tourism in Imo State. If he can complement his statues drive, to payment of salaries and developing other critical infrastructures, Imo State will be on the part of a tourists attraction.


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