In its drive to boost tourism in Bayelsa State, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has constituted a 10-Man Strategic Committee on Culture and Tourism Advancement.
The committee, which has tourism practitioners, development experts, as well as a tourism and travel journalist, will be co-chaired by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Iti Orugbani with Dr. John Idumange as alternate chairman.
Tourism journalist, Mr. Priye Kiyaramo, is to serve as secretary, while Bishop Mesiah Opusunju, Mr. Dickson Zuowei and Mr. Pius Waritimi are members. Other members include, Mr. Eyinimi Omorozi, Mr. Solomon King, Mr. Findite Fente, Mr. Tonbara Subai and Lady Ebifamini Ikali.
Announcing the committee, Dr. Orugbani said among other benefits, the cultural and tourism sector, if well harnessed, would be a huge revenue earner to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.
The Commissioner further stated that he has identified some challenges such as bureaucracy, lack of clear policy direction, non-active involvement of the private sector and poor stakeholders buy-in culture as factors militating against the growth of the tourism industry in the state.
“Therefore, in line with the prosperity agenda of the Senator Douye Diri-led administration, we are poised to overcome these challenges and chart a clear roadmap to reposition the tourism industry for full exploitation. To achieve this aim, we have set up a strategic committee made up of people of high integrity, experience and specialism with passion and the right industry contacts and are ready to make sacrifices for the people and government of the state in the tourismsector.
“The committee’s terms of reference include; to work out clear strategies on development of tourist sites across the state, putting into consideration possible environmental concerns between tourism, land and biodiversity; to draw from past challenges and work out an acceptable cultural promotion and tourism advancement model to ensure a coordinated and sustainable development of culture and tourism in the state.
“Others are to develop up-to-date content on cultural tourism marketing, highlighting the economic benefits of the industry to Bayelsa State, while leveraging on the low hanging fruits; to identify potential partners and stakeholders that can contribute to culture and tourism advancement in the state.
“The committe would also assist in taking any other responsibility relevant to the entire gamut of culture and tourism content development, promotion and marketing in the state as well as to develop a workable culture and tourism development blueprint, putting into consideration the role of government, the locals, corporate partners and other relevant stakeholders,” the commissioner said.
The committee would be inaugurated at a later day.