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Unlocking Ise Ekiti’s Ecotourism Potential: SW/Niger Delta Forest Project’s Visionary Workshop

In a pioneering effort, the SW/Niger Delta Forest Project has concluded a groundbreaking workshop under the banner “Ecotourism in Conservation: Making Economic Sense of the Ise Forest Conservation Area.” This transformative event, hosted at De Jewel Hotel and Suites in Ado Ekiti, united a diverse assembly of stakeholders, ranging from conservationists to entrepreneurs, all advocating for the preservation of Ise Forest’s rich biodiversity.

The driving force behind this initiative, Ms. Rachel Ashegbola Ikemeh, the convener and Project Director, articulated the program’s essence as fostering stakeholder involvement in conservation—a nationwide imperative.


She highlighted the evolution of the Ise Ekiti conservation journey, originating with the advocacy to protect a unique chimpanzee species, expanding to encompass ecosystem preservation, and culminating in the promising realm of ecotourism benefits for the Ise Forest.

Ms. Ikemeh reassured that the Ise Forest holds untapped potential, capable of significantly enhancing the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) while benefiting the local community. The project, initiated in 2021, has matured, prompting discussions on how the Ekiti state government and the host community can reap rewards from their conservation decisions, particularly in the domain of ecotourism.

Ecological tourism, Ms. Ikemeh explained, will open doors for tourists within and outside the state, and internationally, thus boosting Ekiti State’s IGR and providing economic benefits to the Ise Ekiti community.

Furthermore, the Ise Ekiti forest is envisioned to cater to middle-income earners seeking an escape from city hustle, offering a wildlife and safari experience. Ms. Ikemeh positioned Ise Ekiti as a preferred choice for those who would typically consider destinations like Kenya and South Africa.

The workshop, meticulously orchestrated by Project Director Ms. Rachel Ashegbole Ikemeh, featured enlightening keynote lectures from prominent figures in the conservation field. Notable speakers, including Mr. Adedamola Ogunsesan, Manager of the Lekki Conservation Center in Lagos State, and Dr. Babajide Agboola, a Biodiversity and Ecotourism Management Consultant, emphasized the symbiotic relationship between ecotourism and conservation.

Interactive sessions and collaborative discussions became a fertile ground for stakeholders to actively engage, sharing ideas aimed at fostering sustainable ecotourism in the Ise Forest Conservation Area. A pivotal outcome of the workshop was the inauguration of a steering committee tasked with designing and implementing a comprehensive tourism development plan for the conservation area.

The potential for ecotourism to act as a catalyst for development was emphasized by Mr. Matthew Famuagun, the Executive Secretary of the Ekiti State Forestry Commission. Dignitaries, including representatives from the Arinjale of Ise Ekiti, Oba, and the Director-General of the Bureau of Tourism, Mr. Wale Ojo Lanre, emphasized the positive impact of ecotourism in boosting the state’s Internally Generated Revenue.

With a focus on Domestic Tourism, its potential, prospects, and benefits, coupled with discussions on Tourism Development, Operations, and Stakeholder Benefits, the workshop served as a comprehensive platform propelling Ekiti State into a hub for sustainable ecotourism. As stakeholders prepare for a visit to the Ise Forest Conservation Area, their commitment to advancing conservation and ecotourism in the region remains steadfast.

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