Journalists covering Travel, Arts and Culture beat in Bayelsa State, under the auspices of Travel Writers Corps of the Bayelsa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), have again applauded the vision of the state government to promote Travel, Arts and Culture, saying that tourism has become an important economic sector in many parts of the world, informing that many regions, states, and local areas have identified patronage by visitors as a potential source of economic growth.
Speaking against the backdrop of a promise made by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Iti Orugbani, when he featured on the maiden edition of “Tourism This Week” on People’s F.M, Yenagoa, where he hinted on plans by his ministry to host a State Cultural Festival, tagged “BYCAN” and an International tourism summit, which would be annual events in the state, Chairman of the state Travel Writers’ Corps, Comrade Piriye Kiyaramo, said, “towns, villages and cities have increasingly become keen to share their culture and environment with a view to providing spending opportunities for visitors through the promotion of local festivals and other events.”
Comrade Kiyaramo, who also doubles as Publisher of the Blue Economy Newsmagazine online, Abuja, commended the commissioner for taking the initiative to produce a state events’ calendar of important cultural and tourism events in collaboration with the local government councils across the state for the purpose of attracting the global tourism business community in the quest to promote the abundant tourism potentials to increase the state’s internally generated revenue.
The Travel Writers’ Corps boss noted that the use of local festivals has become a veritable instrument for tourism development, he said has gained worldwide momentum in recent years, pointing out that: “The fact that income can be generated by such festivals, is clear, but the true value of visitor spend is more complex to calculate with accuracy, hence there is need for proper planning on the part of the organisers of such events.
He reiterated that: “While in some instances, time-honored existing local cultural or religious events have been revived or repackaged as tourism events, in other cases, new festivals have been invented and promoted for the singular purpose of drawing new visitors to a city or region.
On plans by the state government to host an international tourism summit to attract international stakeholders into the sector, Comrade Kiyaramo expressed the hope that the proposed 9-Man Strategic Committee on Culture and Tourism with members to be drawn from relevant stakeholder platforms and organisations who are passionate about the growth of tourism and equally support the cardinal points of the Senator Prosperity Douye Diri Prosperity Vision will be creative enough to guide the process.
“Because visitor patronage can contribute to the local economy, many communities seek to enhance their tourism and visitor-oriented activities and as a result, estimate the economic impact of such tourism events.
“Local festivals have been increasingly used as instruments for promoting tourism and in boosting regional economies. This is often reflected in the level of public assistance made available to them,” Comrade Kiyaramo informed.