North Kordofan Receives 1000 Tourists from 30 Nationalities Annually, Interview
Upon visiting North Kordofan State, Sudan Vision met with the Director General of the Ministry of Information and Tourism in North Kordofan Dr. Malik Eissa who talked in-depth about the State's potentials of tourism as well as the expected role that tourism plays in the national economy as available resources, besides challenges lying ahead to tourism.
Eissa stressed that several factors make North Kordofan State very attractive to tourism and tourists. According to him, the State is totally safe and public transport widely available, as well as communication and other services. Above all there are enormous historical sites among them the beautiful Al Dayer Mountain.
Q: What are your efforts to promote tourism in the State?
A: First if all I would like to welcome you here and with your esteemed newspaper particularly among English speakers in this State. In the Ministry of Information and Tourism, one tends to reflect tourism through movies and studies which can reflect attractive tourism potential so that we can draw the attention of investors. This work is supported by the executive and the governor of the State is sponsoring this program. These steps aim to open a new resource for the economy as well as opening channels of entertainment for our citizens here in the State and across Sudan as a whole. It is well known that tourism will be ever more important following loss of oil revenues.
Now we are looking for how to find new alternative resources. We believe that tourism as one of the most important addition resources suppose to push strongly on this dimension.
Therefore we have a project to set up tourism resorts at the entrance of El Obeid city. Last month we signed an agreement with well-known investor to invest in the tourism sector who is the owner of Tiger Company. The agreement signed by North Kordofan State government including the Governor, Minister of Tourism and Commissioner of Al Khawia to invest in this sector. We also study on investment in the localities of Al Rahad, Bara and Abu Zabad. So, you can see that the State has a big tourism potential and that is why President of the Republic called for establishing an animal park in the area of Mount Al Dayer.
At Mount Al Dayer; in an area called Sidra, as the area is characterized by huge tourism potential. Thank God, the administration of tourism has carried our great festival in Dabbas attended by the executive and legislative leaders in the State.
Today, the State has totally moved to tourism as there are many documentary films to promote tourism and to expose potential tourism in the State.
Our plan in the year 2012 focuses on major activities to implement such programs. Our concern is how to expose tourism to become a reality until it can generate revenues on State budget and to participate in the revenues of the State.
I can assure you that will participate in the shares' festival as Port Sudan is famous for this activity, there we can make partnership with organizations which actively work in the field of tourism and promotion, until the State tops the position in the map of tourism.
Q: How much of the budget is allocated for all these programs?
A: We asked for a considerable sum in the budget which has been approved by the Ministry of Tourism. I do not know how much, but in fact, a considerable sum which might help us in implementing these programs.
Q: Have you seen any challenges or obstacles in the tourism sector?
A: Money is the lifeline; when you have money, some problems might be resolved. Therefore tourism programs always need capital to implement the desired programs.
Yet, the obvious challenge is infrastructure, so if you want to base for perfect tourism activity, you need to have suitable hotels, cafes specialized means of transport to work in the tourism sector.
Now you see Tiger Company has buses on high level work inside the Sudan. We also need security which is required for tourists to feel safe anywhere, any time. Fortunately, this State is very secure. The tourists can go as they like without fear of their safety, money or property. Our State has a high degree of security and welcoming for anybody who comes from outside and this is an advantage of North Kordofan State.
Q: Regarding the issue of roads construction, do you think that the numbers of roads are sufficient for tourism?
A: Well, in this regard, as I previously mentioned according to the memorandum of understanding with Tigerland Company we are working around the State in El Obeid, Al Khwai, and Al Nuhoud highway. I think this problem can be solved. Yet we have a good work in Al Rahad Locality and Mount Al Dayer where the animal park is located. So, the Al-Rahad – Sidra road may add another value to the area.
Right now, the construction in Abu Zabad and Addibebat, the work is going well. In Abu Zabad there is a big water basin as large as Torda of Al Rahad. In west Bara the tarmac road is about to be finished. The area of west Bara has a sandy soil. In autumn the land becomes stable and can be accessible even on motor bikes or bicycles.
Q: What is your priority in the Ministry of Information and Tourism for 2012?
A: We are in the Ministry of Tourism. We have many priorities as you know the war which broke out in South Kordofan will negatively impact in North Kordofan as a neighbouring State; we also have North Darfur in the western side. We need to make social movement until we preserve a peaceful coexistence besides making social fabric and to strengthen this fabric through public festivals.
Also, some of our priorities we want to expand television show to overwhelm the whole State and neighbouring state to broadcast strong programs that compete with international channels, until they can draw the citizen to the executive and legislative activities.
At least we can unify the vision and the speech with the states which chare us, share our national concerns in the issue of homeland and its safety.
Q: What incentives do you have to attract tourists to come here?
A: North Kordofan is the most attractive State in regard to tourism particularly in autumn as there are various folklores in north Kordofan State as small Sudan. The one of El Obeid seem to be autumn area for the Baggara tribe. Therefore in North Kordofan State, our incentives are our variety of tourism. Regarding the archeology, nobody can talk about the history of the Sudan without mentioning the battle of El Obeid, Nara and El Rahad. North Kordofan is a pioneer in this field as very rich there are many experts or archeology carried out at different surveys to reflect that side and we believe that the reference of all civilizations are archeology.
The government has allocated three posts for us in the field of archeology in the administration of archeology and museums. We will make partnership with local and international organizations in the sector of archeology, besides, we expect to excavate and classify them according to history period through national museum and university of Khartoum faculty of arts department of archeology. We are keen to put North Kordofan State in the national museum in public administration of archeology.
Q: Could you tell us in numbers about the tourists who visit the State every year?
A: As I told you, we have specialized administration for tourism and the number of tourists whom we host is over 1,000 annually representing over 30 nations worldwide. As of infrastructure in the State, we have three-star hotels and we have international presence through the United Nations and some foreigners.
Q: We know that North Kordofan State has the first regional newspaper across Sudan, why has this paper been stopped?
A: You are right; North Kordofan State newspaper was among the first regional papers published. This year we resumed publishing and we had three issues but the problem always remains in the budget and the funding always became the challenge which faces us.
To restart publication, we believe that the paper should continue to reflect North Kordofan State activities.
By Mohamed Ali Fazari, 31/01/2012