Following the tee off of this year’s edition of Bayelsa International Golf Tournament, tagged ‘the Governor’s Cup’ which took place from March 4 to 6, 2021 as part of activities to mark Governor Douye Diri’s first one year in office in Yenagoa, with over four countries participating, an intermational tourism expert and Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Tourism Development, Mr. Tamaramiebi Abiri, has described sports tourism as a fast-growing sector within the travel industry that rakes in good foreign exchange for developing countries.
Mr. Abiri who commended Gov. Douye Diri for his sports tourism development initiatives, maintained that the potential of sports in providing enthusiasts with adrenaline filled adventures cannot be underestimated, just as he acknowledged the need for strategic marketing of golf tourism facilities with particular reference to the state-of-the-arts HSD Golf & Country Club, as a travel package to improve the tourism offerings of the state.
He was also full of praises for the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the first military governor of Old Rivers State and current chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM King Alfred Diete Spiff for their usual support for the development and promotion of sports tourism in state and beyond.
He reiterated that Golf is key in job creation and nature conservation, informing that from caddies, and maintenance workers, training and instruction managers, equipment maintenance crew, to the entire club management team; the game will provide employment for so many persons across the state in due course, in addition to possible spring up of new restaurants, hotels and other tourism related amenities and services, supported by the travel and tourism sector in Bayelsa State.
According to Mr. Abiri, shifting focus to golf tourism, with the provision of a well developed golf course as being promised by the governor at the commencement of this year’s tournament, speaks volumes of the genuine intentions of the prosperity administration to focus sports as one of the potentially key tourism products in the state, pointing out that the governor’s golf tourism initiatives will attract both domestic and international golf tourists to Yenagoa in the coming years.
The governor’s aide maintained that the growth of golf tourism is largely dependent on golfers’ willingness to part with their banknotes during tournaments for the love of the game and that the hospitality services pertaining to the game, including accommodation and sumptuous meals to spice up the placid disposition ahead of the exotic game at the destination.
He said there was no doubt that sports tourism in Bayelsa will take a new dimension under Governor Diri, with tee off of this year’s edition of Bayelsa International Golf Tournament, saying that, to accommodate the ever-evolving travelers, including the subtle golfers, all tourism stakeholders must work on consolidating the gains previously earned through sports tourism to enable policy makers evaluate the present challenges, as well as taking a critical look at the budding future of golf tourism and the entire sports tourism sector.
“The Game of Golf is also reputable for the networking platform it provides participants, while keeping tabs of their scorecards. It attracts deluxe tourists, senior managers, company owners, government officials, reputable statesmen, politicians, and business investors among others; many of whom are repeaters.
“This improves organizational, marketing and bidding capabilities of a people looking to enhance their network. For instance, some who have played golf together for years end up creating close knit friendships and families,” he reiterated.