The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki who intends to develop the tourism sector to a greater height, has just received 50 African-American tourists who arrived Benin City, the Edo State capital, South-South, Nigeria to trace their origin.
The tourists, who arrived in Benin from California, United States of America (USA), were entertained by the Benin Cultural Troupe and treated to delicious local African dishes, including palm oil fruits soup (banga), blended vegetable (black) soup, owo soup, pounded yam and agidi (corncake) among others.
Mr. Andy Ehanire, a representative of Jemi Alade, organisers of the tour who disclosed the reason of the visit to Journalists, explained that “the Americans were on a rediscovery visit to trace their route’’.
He went further, “They are coming on a pilgrimage to rediscover the home of their ancestors from where they were taken away more than 400 years ago. It is an emotional visit.”
Mr. Andy Ehanire also added that the tour was to showcase the common ancestral heritage the people have with the Benin people, so that more African-Americans will be encouraged to visit Benin City and have a feel of the African culture and discover where their ancestors lived.
“Benin is safe. We are civilised and friendly. The tourists will be taken round the city. They will visit the Oba Palace and the Palace of the Enogie of Ugoneki, where they will be given Benin names so they can add to their existing names.” Mr. Andy Ehanire, stated.
He said tourism has the potential to grow the economy of the state, noting that some countries have grown their economy with tourist receipts as they receive almost a million tourists on a monthly basis.
“For a place to attract tourist attention, its culture must be unadulterated, there must be security and knowledgeable tour guards,” Ehanire noted.