The Enugu State Government said it would establish a modern zoological and botanical garden to replace the one displaced in the state capital.
The state's Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Joe Mamel, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Wednesday.
Mamel said that the project was in collaboration with the departments of zoology and botany at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
The commissioner said a committee headed by Prof. Karl Okezie of the university had been set up to design a modern zoo, find a location and other concepts.
``We have in our budget for this year the establishment of a zoological and botanical garden.
``We know that the department of botanical science and the department of zoology and animal science will have a lot to do with the development of this particular venture.
``We had our first meeting to design a concept plan of how a modern zoo should be, where the zoo should be located and basic things necessary that must have to be in place.``
He said the ministry was in the process of acquiring land for the project.
On hotels, Mamel said the government had commenced plans to refurbish and remodel the state-owned Presidential Hotel, Nike Lake Resort Hotel and Ikenga Hotels.
According to him, a concessional agreement of 35 years had been reached with a private investor to operate the Presidential Hotel but expressed dismay at the slow pace of renovation work at the hotel.
``They were supposed to commence work as soon as the agreement was signed and this was done last February. Up till now, not much has been done.’’
The commissioner said the government had also guaranteed a loan of N200 million for the refurbishment of the Nike Lake Resort Hotel to achieve international standards and compete favourably with its peers in the country.
On the International Conference Centre abandoned by the previous administration in the state capital, Mamel said the government had met with interested investors to complete the work on ‘finish, operate and transfer’ basis.
He said that the ministry would organise a mid-year summit to discuss the tourism blueprint developed by the government.
The commissioner said the summit would involve local governments and stakeholders in the tourism industry, including those in the Nollywood.
``Tourist inflow has increased in the state because the government has put in enabling atmosphere in the state like shopping malls, good roads, good hotels, security and a well regulated policy.`` (NAN)